Shelley comments on the transitory nature of authority, power, prestige, and existence, while simultaneously examining how one's art can also have ephemeral qualities by portraying the dilapidated, neglected statue of Ozymandias lying in the middle of a barren desert. The once powerful king's statue is described as being a "colossal Wreck" and is nothing more than legs of stone and a half-buried shattered "visage." The colossal size of Ramses's statue symbolizes his lofty ambitions, inflated self-perception, and narcissistic personality, which is further emphasized by the inscription on the pedestal of the statue. Ramses's statue was originally constructed to portray his self-proclaimed omnipotence but erodes with time into a deteriorating, shattered structure. The decaying state of Ramses's statue also symbolically represents the transience of political leaders and regimes, and emphasizes the erosive processes of time.