Sound and Sense in Ozymandias

In: English and Literature

Submitted By saskia1995
Words 492
Pages 2
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley is a poem about a statue of a king that has been eaten away by the elements of a desert. The great glory of the once-king is displayed in such a way that there is nothing to be prideful about, but the statue still sits with the same magnificence that it did when it had first been erected. With the use of sound devices, Shelley paints a picture of something great left to ruins as time passes.

The rhyming scheme of the poem is not one which fits into any standard sonnet pattern. The scheme of ababacdcedefef helps connect the words of each line, creating a bigger, stronger picture of what the Shelley wrote about. The last word in line 1 and line 3 rhyme (land/sand), and when the poem is read aloud, it becomes clear that the land being spoken of is a desert. These rhyme-connections follow throughout the poem. Another example of the rhyme-connection is line 11 and line 13, with the words despair and bare. These two words read within the rhyming scheme gives a better understanding of the feelings of despair now that everything that Ozymandias' once greatness has eroded with time.

Alliteration is the most important sound device in the poem. Alliteration is coloured all throughout the poem. From the first example of “cold command” to the last of “sands stretch”, each piece of alliteration puts a hard emphasize of each line. Within the context of the first example (“wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command”), the hardness of the C puts a strain of importance on the hardness of the look upon the statue's face.

"Boundless and bare" and “lone and level” are examples of alliteration that are used to convey what is left of Ozymandias' legacy, as well as the setting of the desert. They are all descriptive words to describe things that are not mighty or grand, and the use of each word sharing the same first letter puts an emphasize on what…...

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