Ozymandias What is the attitude in ozymandias?

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Great poem and great posts!  The irony is hard to miss, I think.    Here we are in this wasteland of a desert.  The last lines say the sand stretches far away, "lone and level," "boundless and bare." There is literally nothing for miles in any direction--except for this "colossal wreck."  The...

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Great poem and great posts!  The irony is hard to miss, I think.    Here we are in this wasteland of a desert.  The last lines say the sand stretches far away, "lone and level," "boundless and bare." There is literally nothing for miles in any direction--except for this "colossal wreck."  The statue (more like a monument, actually) was once the mark of a great leader, Ozymandias, who controlled all the lands and peoples as far as the eye could see.  He called himself the "king of kings," and he warned anyone drawing near enough to read the statue that they were to observe what he had created and "despair."  Apparently they were to tremble in their boots (sandals?) at the mere thought of "messin' with The Man."  Now, of course, nothing is left but a "shattered visage" and a whole lotta nothin'.  I love #4 post's commentary about that.  This is a story of pride and arrogance about eternal fame which, ironically, turns to nothing but dust...or sand.

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I agree with the above post.  Shelley's poem is full of irony, and the diction used throughout the lines suggests this.  The statue was once great, but is now a "colossal Wreck," a "shattered visage."  The Pharaoh and his legacy were supposed to be immortal, yet the symbol of his legacy has collapsed and is being swallowed by the desert.

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"Ozymandias" is one of my favorite poems!

By "attitude," I think you mean tone. Enotes' definition of tone, "an element used frequently in poetry to convey feeling and emotion," is discussed in detail at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_(literary).

The tone of the poem is ironic. The ancient king was presumptuous in exhorting the onlooker to view his "works," which have long since dissolved into dust.

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