Ozymandias Summary Class 10th English

Ozymandias Summary Class 10th English

 Ozymandias Summary / Explaination

-By Percy Byssche Shelley


This sonnet, composed in 1817, is one of most famous of Shelley’s anthologised poems. This poem was composed in competition with Shelley’s friend Horace Smith, who wrote another sonnet on the same topic of Ozymandias. In terms of theme imagery, this poem is notable for its virtuous diction. The theme is the decline of all leaders, of all the empires they build, however mighty they may have been in their own time. Ozymandias was a another name for Ramesses the Great, Pharoah of the 19th century ancient Egypt. The sonnet parphrases the inscription beneath the statue, ‘‘If anyone wants to know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass any of my works’’.

PARAPHRASE 1 – 8 lines – (I met a traveller ……………….. that fed)

The speaker recalls having met a traveller from an ancient land who told him a story about the ruins of a statue in the desert of his native country. The traveller said that two vast legs of stone stand without a body and near this, a massive crumbling and broken stone-head lies, which is half sunk in the sand. The statue has a bitter and cruel expression of ‘sneer and cold command’ and this indicates that the sculptor had understood the passions of his subject really well. It was obvious that the statue was of a man who sneered with contempt for those who were weaker than himself, yet fed his people because of something in his heart.

9 – 14 lines – (My name ……………………. far away)

On the pedestal of the statue these words are inscribed, ‘‘My name is Ozymandias, I am the king of kings. If anyone wishes to know how great I am, then let him surpass any of my works.” Around the decaying ruin of the statue, nothing remains, only the ‘lone’ and level sands’ which stretch out around it, far away


  •  antique : ancient
  • vast : huge
  • shattered : broken
  • frown : expression of contempt
  • cold command : cruel commands
  • passions : feelings
  • mocked : make fun
  • despair : feeling of hopelessness
  • colossal : great
  • wreck : destruction
  • boundless : without limit
  • bare : deserted, empty

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