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Ozymandias Summary & Analysis
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias Summary & Analysis
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Ozymandias” is a sonnet written by the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley wrote “Ozymandias” in 1817 as part of a poetry contest with a friend, and had it published in The Examiner in 1818 under the pen name Glirastes. The title of “Ozymandias” refers to an alternate name of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II. In “Ozymandias,” Shelley describes a crumbling statue of Ozymandias as a way to portray the transience of political power and to praise art’s power of preserving the past. Although the poem is a 14-line sonnet, it breaks from the typical sonnet tradition in both its form and rhyme scheme, a tactic that reveals Shelley’s interest in challenging conventions, both political and poetic.

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