Ozymandias and the Grecian Urn Paper

Decent Essays
Even though “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelley and “Ode to a Grecian Urn” by John Keats sound like very different types of poems, they still share some of the same characteristics. In “Ozymandias,” Shelley tells a story of how a man found a ancient statue of a king, with the words “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,/ Look on my Works, ye Might, and despair!” The statue was broken into pieces, and the land was bare, with nothing to “look on” (11). In “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” Keats is speaking to an ancient urn and describing the unchanging pictures that are on it. These poems are very different in how their objects interact with the passing of time and in the feelings that they invoke in the reader, but very similar in the romantic…show more content…
The poem gives the reader a feeling of loneliness and emptiness by using lines like “The lone and level sands” and “boundless and bare” (14, 13). In “Ode to a Grecian Urn”, the connotations of the words that Keats uses are completely opposite. Keats even describes the urn as being able to tell “A flowery tale more sweetly than [their] rhyme” (4). Keats then goes on to state that the melodies “unheard/ Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on” (11-12). These lines are so light and pretty especially compared to the harshness of Shelley’s poem. Keats describes the beautiful pictures on the urn throughout the rest of the poem, even making a sacrifice sound peaceful. Even though the way the poems’ objects interact with the passing of time and the feelings the poems invoke in the reader differ greatly, the romantic characteristics that both poems symbolize are very similar. Ironically, the opposite parallels of the two poems have a way of representing a romantic mindset. For example, the romantics believed that nature is supposed to teach. In “Ozymandias”, nature destroys a statue and a town that had arisen from greed and the abuse of power. The king is stated to have a “sneer of cold command” and a “heart that fed” his own desires (4,8). The “trunkless legs of stone” and “a shattered visage” makes it sound like nature was not very happy with the king’s show of authority (2, 4). In “Ode
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