Figurative Language In Ozymandias

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Travel back to a time in Egypt where the pharohs were all powerful and ruled with an iron fist. Long ago where one ruler was called “king of kings”, did the same. Through literary terms there will be an exploration of unity that is formed surrounding the title character. A strong theme will be discovered simply by dissecting the words on the page. Percy Shelley, in the poem Ozymandias, uses tension, figurative language, and irony to demonstrate autocracy will ultimately lead to fleeting power and the lack of a mark left on the world. There is clear tension weaved through out Shelley’s poem. It creates an emotional imbalance that makes the reader feel uncertainty because of the opposite ideas that are presented in the same lines. “The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed them” (Shelley 8). Ozymandias was a harsh ruler that didn’t spare a kind word to his subjects. Even though they endorsed and supported him, he couldn’t be bothered to treat them with respect. He “mocked” them but despite that, in the same line it is said he supplied them with food. Ozymandias knew the fine line between being a strict leader and malevolent king. He fed his people because that was the only reason they would tolerate his severity without revolting. He made it so they were dependent on him and enforced their loyalty. The kindness of feeding them is a mask for his true, much more selfish nature. That is why the two words are linked because although they are opposite concepts, it’s all a part of his identity and how he rules as a king. Another example of these conflicting ideologies is in line 7, “Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things.” “Surviving” is all his subjects were afforded. They are not allowed to live full and plentiful lives because of the cruelty of their ruler. They were oppressed and although they were technically alive, they didn’t have their own free will. They had to follow their ruler’s orders and were slaves. They become “lifeless” because they have no free will. Their job is to be dutiful servants to Ozymandias. The tension in the poem conveys the depth and complexity of Ozymandias. He puts on a façade but his subjects see past the thin veiled mask. They are aware of his cruelty and
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