What are the main points to remember about the poem "Ozymandias"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would say that the transitory nature of existence is one of the critical points from the poem.  The ruler Ozymandias, self described as the "king of kings," is one whose statue is in a decrepit condition, set in a barren land.  The notion here is that during his rule, people might have seen him as a powerful king.  Ozymandias might have even seen himself as one of these rulers.  Yet, the possession of political power does not guarantee political immortality.  Rulers cannot be measured by solely their success when they rule, but must be assessed on the grounds of what they have done to ensure that their rule is lasting.  At the same time, this can be broadened to anyone who seeks immortality for its own end.  All artists could be subject to the fate of Ozymandias, seeking immortality in this life, but not accomplishing it after their time has passed.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial