Ozymandias Questions and Answers
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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

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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 -...

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