Wed. Jul 6th, 2022

Introduction: Ozymandias and the American Dream

Ozymandias is a sonnet by the English Romantic poet Percy Shelley written in 1818 after the completion of its subject matter, which he’d been planning for more than half a year. Shelley used the Greek word “zeugma” as his title, which means a “deliberate ambiguity” (or double meaning) in Greek. The poem was first published in a collection titled The Revised and Enlarged Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures of All the Most Eminent Masters of Art: And the Prices Current Thereof; Also, a List of New Pictures and some Unfinished Drawings, &c., &c.
In the poem, the title character – a rich and powerful king – sits on his throne but is no longer considered a king: “So Ozymandias, like a name sage on his tower, Looks on the passers by.” Long ago, he ruled as a great conqueror and military leader but now he is just an old man in a chair all alone. He is remembered only as the one who built an empire and built monuments to himself all over the world. As a king he was powerful and admired by everyone, but as an old man he feels alone and insignificant. Ozymandias is an epitome of the tragic hero who, though powerful in his achievements, cannot understand how people can forget him.

what do you think is the political message of ozymandias
what do you think is the political message of ozymandias

What the Poem Means in Light of America’s Reality

The speaker in the poem, Shelley himself, starts with a description of a ruined statue of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II (known as Ozymandias) was made by his sculptor. He is amazed by its greatness and has to admit that it had been “the master-piece of some forgotten artist” (lines 1-3). The statue was proud of its might, as well as the mighty kings who built it. Then, the speaker takes his time to describe in powerful details the glorious palace, which was full of treasures. However, time and a number of adverse circumstances have caused it to be in ruins (lines 5-8). The statue was standing on the edge of a desert as if it was a warning to all men that even an enormous and powerful king will die one day. The palace, once worshipped by people, is now being ignored by the passer-byers. All its treasure have been looted long ago (lines 10-12).

what do you think is the political message of ozymandias
what do you think is the political message of ozymandias

What does it Mean for America to be like Ozymandia?

The earlier part of the poem describes a country which is booming with plenty of riches and prosperity, while the latter part describes a ruined country, where large archi-tectural structures have been broken into pieces and some bones lie scattered beneath the stones. The speaker, who is a stranger visiting the country, says that there seemed no design in the ruins of the palace and all was confusion. He says they were imposing and dismal, which is quite true for Ozymandias’ country. It seems that the speaker’s interpretation of the poem has something to do with American Dream. The American Dream is a concept which refers to a set of ideals about freedom, citizenship, opportunity and prosperity in United States (Duffy 2006). The American Dream is linked to the notion of government and democracy, in which people are free from government control. The freedom granted by government of United States is what enables the people to pursue their dreams.

what do you think is the political message of ozymandias
what do you think is the political message of ozymandias