What is the meaning of the poem "Ozymandias?"

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The meaning of "Ozymandias" is that any power or status one may have while alive will eventually crumble and be lost in the depths of history. One must die in the end. The pedestal demonstrates that Ozymandias called himself "King of Kings," a title generally reserved for the Judeo-Christian god. This shows how arrogant he was. His behavior, too, as ruler, was obviously cruel, since the sculptor portrayed his "sneer of cold command" and his hand as "mock[ing.]" The inscription claims immortality for Ozymandias's "Works," saying that they will make even the "Mighty" "despair." In the end, though, Ozymandias died, and his empire fell. Power on earth is transitory, and our focus should instead be on spiritual immortality, worshipping the true "King of Kings"—or so Shelley's poem implies.

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"Ozymandias" by Shelley is about a narrator who encounters "a traveller from an antique land." The traveller tells the narrator about two enormous legs of a statue that stands in the desert, surrounded by a "shattered visage," or a battered face. On the face of this sculpture is a "sneer of cold command," meaning that the face on the sculpture is making a gesture that conveys disdain and mastery. The sculptor has captured the appearance and attitude of the subject. On the pedestal of the statue, Ozymandias, a leader of ancient Egypt, engraved the words "Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Yet all around the statue, nothing remains except sand and the ruins of the statue. 

The meaning of the poem is that Ozymandias, an ancient leader, thought he could control his land forever. However, time has made his statue fall into disrepair, showing that no one can control the vastness of the world and of nature. Instead, nature has made his remark seem ironic, as his statue has crumbled into a headless wreck. 

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