Hardship In Ozymandias

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A whale swallowed Jonah. For seventy-two hours, he was at its mercy. At the end of this time, however, Jonah found himself on dry land. His grueling ordeal with the whale came to an end just like everything else does because time shows no partiality. All is transient. Percy Shelley lends evidence to this in “Ozymandias,” a short poem about the titular Egyptian Pharaoh. In his prime, Ozymandias could have been compared to the formidable whale which ensnares its victims, but the poem picks up long after his death. Therefore, the only remaining vestige of his grand but ruthless reign is a shattered statue. Shelley’s beautiful imagery, harsh irony, and acute diction imbue that simple statue with the idea that difficult times always pass away.…show more content…
As soon as Shelley lays out the context of the poem and explains how he came to know about Ozymandias, he quotes a traveler as saying that “[t]wo vast and trunkless legs of stone/ [s]tand in the desert” (2-3). This imagery creates the setting in which the rest of the poem takes place; without it there would be no framework within which to place the “shattered visage” (4), “pedestal” (9), or “level sands” (14). Since it is near the beginning, it is fundamental for structural purposes, but also a starting point for revealing the theme. Broken stone lying in the middle of a desert denotes a lack of maintenance and shows that Pharaohs no longer force slaves to maintain monuments; if Ozymandias’ power had actually lasted, then his statue would be in pristine condition. Time reveals the flimsiness of human life, and since that spells disaster for Ozymandias, people who may otherwise have been his slaves are free. Imagery is the best element for Shelley to utilize at the beginning of his masterpiece because it can set the scene while emphasizing the benefits of

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