Comment on the use of alliteration in "Ozymandias."

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let us remember that alliteration is defined as the use of two words or more in close proximity that begin with the same consonant sound. If we have a quick look at this brilliant poem, we can see that the most important incidence of alliteration in "Ozymandias" comes at the end of the poem in the last three lines, which also conveys the poem's central message or theme through irony:

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Hopefully you will have noted the three examples of alliteration in this quote, in "boundless and bare," "lone and level" and finally "sands stretch." What is key to realise is that the alliteration places added emphasis on the words that are used to describe what remains of the mighty empire of Ozymandias. All of the words that use alliteration convey the ruin and destruction of time, and how even the mightiest of civilisations will eventually be forgotten and decay into dust. Alliteration then, in this poem, is used to highlight the central message that the poet wishes to convey.

arleve | Student

The poem Ozymandis is a sonnet with forteen lines. Oyzamndias was a stern and passionate ruler, however now his statue lies broken and disfigured almost amidst the sands of desert. there is no kingdom, no high walls nothing of a great and mighty empire the lines on the statue express.

Line no. 1 'I met a traveler from an antique land' has Assonance of the vowel sound 'a' (repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming). simarly Line 2 has the assonance sound of 'e' in 'trunkless legs of stone'. Line 3 has a strong sound to it a use of consonance (repition of consonant sounds) in 'stand, desert and stone'. Line 4 there is alliteration in 'visage lies'. Line 5 has five stressed mono syllables, that creates a sense of continuity moving from one word to the next. Line 7 shares assonace in words 'these lifeless things'.

there is a use of irony in the poem in the lines written on the bottom of the statue 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings'. the irony of this is that the once great king is no more, moreover his empire, his rule and his people are all gone, dissapeared in the whirls of time. the remains of his empire is but a statue wrecked by time and weather lost in the sands of a far away desert.

repetition of the word 'less' in 'trunkless' in line 1 is reinformed in line 7 'lifeless things'. this repition establishes the poets idea of the figure being dead and a sculpture with now soul. it speaks of death and decay, the theme is repeated with words like 'half sunk', 'shattered visage', 'clossal wreck'. 

there is symbolism employed in the poem. first of all ozymandias has been sculpted into a statue, this is symbolic of his status; he must either be a king or a man of high status worth worshipping. simarly the features of the face of Ozymandias described by the poet are symbolic. Expressions like 'frown, wrinkled lip, and cold sneer' are expressive of cruelty and discontent. they are found more on the face of a person in command. this suggests that Ozymandis was a stern king with adamant personality. he seemed an un-compromising and grim man in nature. the present destruction of the statue is presentation of death and decay to life.