Analysis Of The Poem ' Ozymandias '

1512 WordsJul 27, 20177 Pages
In 1818, Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote Ozymandias, which is a highly complex yet compact poem. The historical context of the poem is important to consider when analyzing the poem for underlying perspectives. Johnstone Parr, an author that contributed to Keats-Shelley Journal, analyzed the poem for historical influences, and learned the following: “The ultimate source of information concerning Ozymandias is the account in Diodorus Siculus’ Biliotheca Historica (first century B.C.). Diodurus remarks that at the second gateway of the funeral temple or “tomb” of an Egyptian king known as “Osymandyas” are three statues, each of stone, the workmanship of Memnon of Sientias. Historians and archaeologists of the twentieth century seem to be agreed…show more content…
Most obviously this refers to the Ozymandias’ reading of his achievement and the poet’s apparent reinterpretation of it in the light of time’s triumph and the surrounding void. But there are more than two readers here and more than one text to be read. There are two readers of events who speak the poem: the traveler and “I” (we will call him Shelley”) who met him, heard his words and recorded them. There are two more readers in the poem to whom at least one of the first pair, the traveler, refers: Ozymandias and the sculptor who “well those passions read which yet survive…” And there is a fifth reader outside the poem whose job it presumably is to read, interpret, and understand them all. Taken collectively, they represent a considerable range of types of readers, of ways in which written or other material may be approached------different types, more completely, of creators and interpreters since all are in some way both” (Freedman). Part of the complexity arises from the statues expression which is originally relayed through the traveler; however, the sculptor’s unique depiction of the pharaoh may not have shown the pharaoh’s true visage. Therefore, the only accurate portrayal of the pharaoh can be ascertained from the words that were
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