English Notes (Class 10)

CBSE Class 10 English Poetry 4 Ozymandias

Written by cbselearners
Ozymandias – Percey Bysshe Shelley




The poem is woven around the foolish pride of a conceited King Ozymandias. This famous and remarkable sonnet is written by the sublime poet PB Shelley. In the sonnet, a traveler met the and told him about the statue of Ozymandias, a mighty king.
This poem reveals the truth that the power of arrogant people fails to perpetuate their name and fame. The power of time is so powerful that it wipes their names from
the face of Earth. Time weathers the monuments Of the mightiest kings into the sand. Nothing else is left behind the vast sea Of Band i. e. , desert.


Stanzas Explanation of the Poem 
I. I met a traveler …. …..whose frown, 
Here, the poet says that a traveler from an ancient land met him. He told the poet that there was a statue there that was huge in size. The statue was in very condition. It was without the upper body. He told that only two legs of stone without the body were standing in the desert, the face Of the status was lying away from it, half sunk in sand.
II And wrinkled lip… .. the heart that fed; 
Further, the traveler tells that the sculptor of this statue knew all the qualities Of the king deeply. Actually, the sculptor mocked Ozymandias. The twitched lip in the face brings out the pride and sneer Of Ozymandias. The king was power drunk, cruel and inhuman with a dictatorial attitude. The Says that the king had died but his facial expression still survived on the sculpted face.
III. And on the….. . ..stretch far away, 
The traveler also informs that the pedestal is engraved with an inscription on the base Of statue saying “My name is Ozymandias, King Of Kings”. These words show the pride and haughtiness Of the king. The king says that achievements and exploits are incomparable in the world. The king was proud of them. NOW, none Of Ozymandias’s works can be seen in the vicinity Of the statue. Due to weathering over time, nothing else is left behind Of Ozymandias except the boundless sand spread all around the broken statue.


Important Questions

Q. What is ironic about the inscription on the pedestrian of Ozymandias’ statue?

A. The inscription on the pedestal of Ozymandias statue says I am Ozymandias, the king of kings, look on my works, yet mighty and despair. This suggests that the king was very boastful, vain and arrogant. He thought that his kingdom would remain forever. But his kingdom was nowhere to be seen and even his own statue was in a dilapidated state. He failed to realize that life is ephemeral.

Q. Who does the ‘shattered visage’ in the poem, ‘Ozymandias’, belong to and why is it ‘half sunk’?

A. It belongs to the kind Ozymandias. It is in a shattered condition as it is ravaged by time. King Ozymandias had got the statue created as a symbol of his power and mightiness but the time destroyed it. Time is all powerful and can destroy everything.

Q. Why does Ozymandias refer to himself as ‘king of kings’?

A. Ozymandias was a mighty king who had defeated many of the kings around his kingdom and had acquired those kingdoms. He was proud of his glory and power. He felt that he was the mightiest of all.

Q. What is ironic about the fate of Ozymandias?

A. Ozymandias, the king had got written at the pedestal of the statue, ‘I am the king of kings’. But the irony is that the king’s statue was lying in the dust. He got a statue built to immortalize his name but he forgot that nothing could stand against time and powerful elements of nature.

Q. In the poem,’Ozymandias’, the poet says, ‘the hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed’. How does the hand ‘mock’ them?

A. The ‘hand’ here is the hand of the sculptor. The sculptor was really good at his job as he was able to read not only the face but also the heart of the king and portrayed the feelings of the king on the statue so clearly that even though the statue was destroyed, the feelings could be well-read.

Q. Bring out the irony in the words, “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings, Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” as inscribed on the pedestal of the statue. What lesson does this irony teach us?

A. Ozymandias, a powerful king of Egypt, was proud of his glory and achievements. he got a statue built in his name and tried to get himself immortalized. But the statue couldn’t withstand the powerful influence of time and with the passage of time, it was destroyed. The statue lay broken in the lonely sands symbolizing that time is all powerful, everything in this life is ephemeral and transient. Nothing stays forever. Everything in the world decays with time. The poem highlights the vanity of human glory and power.

Q. What quality of king Ozymandias doe s the poem reflect?

A. The poem conveys that Ozymandias was a very powerful ruler. He had immense pride of his strength. Owing to his achievements he had become arrogant. He was indeed an authoritarian and a despot. His wishes were laws. He had a desire of being remembered by the posterity as a very powerful ruler.

Q. “The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed.” Whose hand and heart and referred to in this line? Why?

A. In this line, the hand of the sculptor and the heart of Ozymandias are referred to. The hands of the sculptor made the statue of Ozymandias. The sculptor was so skilled that he expressed all the feelings of the heart of Ozymandias on his statue. The face of the statue was telling that the man was so cruel and heartless.

Q. What did the traveler see in the desert?

A. The traveler intimated the narrator that he came across a queer scene in a desert while he was traveling to an ancient land. He beheld two vast and trunkless legs of stone standing in the aptly carved the emotions of the despot whose statue it was.

Q. What message does the poem, ‘Ozymandias’ convey?

A. The icy hands of time leave nothing in this world. All human emotions like arrogance, frown, sneer, haughtiness, etc. vanish into thin air in the course of time. Time is so powerful that even the statue made of stone could not resist it. Ozymandias realized the futility of his vices. People must take a lesson from his life.

Q. What feeling does the partially destroyed statue of Ozymandias convey?

A. The partially destroyed statue of Ozymandias conveys the feeling that time is the most powerful thing in the world. It also expresses that the sculptor of the statue was a very skilled person. The ruler was full of scorn and hostility. He was drunk with power and authority. He threw a challenge to all the powerful persons of the contemporary world.

Q. Describe how Shelley brings out the futility of power and riches in the poem, ‘Ozymandias’.

A. The icy hands of time leave none. Nothing is more powerful than time. Our glory, grandeur, and power are only a nine days wonder. Ozymandias was ruthless and he had hatred and cold command. He demonstrated pride and sneer. ‘The wrinkled lip’ and ‘sneer of cold command’ say that he was drunk with self-power and authority. In the course of time, all the self and power dwindled to nothingness. The statue of Ozymandias was spilled all around the desert in a very bad state. The sands symbolizing death and extinction ha engulfed it. All the power and riches had become futile. The had swallowed them fully. Whatsoever he got carved on the pedestal of his statue could not stand against perpetually powerful swords of time. Ozymandias dislpays his lamenatation and regret.

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