Ozymandias Questions and Answers
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the tone of the poem "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley?

Expert Answers info

Carter Westfall eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookB.A. from University of the Western Cape, South Africa


calendarEducator since 2014

write1,246 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Overall, the poem assumes a mocking tone. Percy Bysshe Shelley employs a number of techniques to emphasize the futility of man's desire to achieve immortality and he criticizes the arrogance and vanity of specifically those in power to assert their dominance and demand praise.

Firstly, Shelley indicates that the speaker's knowledge of the statue is not derived from personal contact with it, but is merely an anecdote shared by the speaker from information divulged by another who had actually viewed the statue. This in itself demeans the importance and value of the object, since the perception thereof is not based on a first-hand account but derived from the experience of a third party. As we all know, second-hand accounts are not very reliable and we mostly doubt their veracity. The irony is obvious: the one (Ozymandias ) who had had his image chiseled in stone wished for it to be admired and appreciated by the viewer - in this instance the speaker is not the one who actually saw the statue -...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 543 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

wordprof eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write1,654 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial