What is the poem "Ozymandias" talking about? How does it relate to Frankenstein?

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The overarching theme of the poem "Ozymandias " is the transience of human life and its achievements. Ozymandias was a great Egyptian pharaoh, otherwise known as Ramasses II, who once built a huge statue of himself. But now, due to the passing of several centuries, the statue lies in...

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The overarching theme of the poem "Ozymandias" is the transience of human life and its achievements. Ozymandias was a great Egyptian pharaoh, otherwise known as Ramasses II, who once built a huge statue of himself. But now, due to the passing of several centuries, the statue lies in ruins, reduced to a sad collection of fragments decaying in the desert. However, the pedestal still remains, and the inscription on that pedestal reads as follows:

'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

The inscription is an expression of the pharaoh's monumental arrogance. He genuinely believed that his deeds upon this earth would make him immortal. Yet his great statue lies in ruins, showing that however grand, however important we think we are, we must all one day succumb to the ravages of time.

One of the most important themes of Frankenstein is closely related to this. Victor is every bit as arrogant as Ozymandias. He, too, wants to achieve immortality through the construction of a monument to his enormous ego. In his case, however, it's not a statue but a monster that he builds. People do indeed look upon Frankenstein's "works, and despair," but not in the way that he'd hoped. They don't see the monster as representing an awe-inspiring scientific breakthrough, but rather as the expression of monstrous evil, a monument to one man's overweening vanity, ego, and intellectual hubris.

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The poem "Ozymandias" is about the broken statue of Ozymandias, who was once the mighty and feared ruler of an important kingdom. By the time of the poem, all that is left of Ozymandias is a ruined statue. His kingdom has disappeared entirely and has become an empty desert. On his statue, these words appear:

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! 

The words are ironic, meaning the opposite of what Ozymandias meant them to communicate. The mighty should despair not because Ozymandias and his kingdom are  powerful and terrifying, but because the great works of today's tyrants will likewise come to nothing. 

Frankenstein dreams of grandeur as he works in a frenzied way, day and night, to be the first to create life from inanimate body parts. He succeeds, but the life he creates is so monstrous to him he flees it in horror. He wants to destroy it. 

Both Ozymandias and Frankenstein end up "shattered." They both represent the pitfalls of excessive pride and ego. They also represent the problems that can arise from not excercising foresight. 

As noted in the other answer, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley were husband and wife. 

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First, you should note that the poem "Ozymandias" was written by Percy Bysshe Shelley and the novel Frankenstein by his wife, Mary Shelley. One is a poem and the other a novel and they are quite different in style and written by different authors.

The poem "Ozymandias" describes a narrator hearing a tale by a traveler who encountered a fallen monumental statue in the desert. It was a statue of an Egyptian pharaoh, with a grandiose claim inscribed on its pedestal:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

When encountered by the traveler, the statue is shattered and the great kingdom Ozymandias ruled has been conquered by colonial powers, suggesting that such greatness is fleeting.

The novel Frankenstein also employs layered narration and shares one similar theme, that of human arrogance and overreach. Victor, the scientist who creates the monster, also is trying for a level of power and immortality that are a form of arrogance, and that lead to his ultimate failure and misfortune. Both works thus suggest the importance of our understanding our limitations.

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