The theme of the poem of “Ozymandias” is that man is insignificant and his efforts are vain when compared to the forces of time and nature. Shelly expertly uses diction in the poem to portray important ideas. By encompassing time and nature into a theme Shelly brings a divine sense to the poem.
To consider the issue of the power of time and nature, the poet has the narrator reporting on a meeting with a traveller from “an antique land” or Egypt, who told of seeing in the desert, the remains of a vast statue. Only the legs remained standing. The trunk was missing and the shattered face lay half buried in the sand, he told that the sculptor had skilfully captures the “frown, the wrinkled lip, and sneer” on the “shattered visage” through “passions well read.” The importance of this traveller is that of symbolism. It symbolises the power that “Ozymandias” has lost in his death. In health he was one of the most powerful people alive but now it takes a wandering traveller to spread a tale of the once great king.
The statue is described as a “colossal wreck boundless are bare” drawing a parallel for the reason in which it was built. The condition of the stones, descriptively worded by Shelly, only emphasises the despair drawn into the stone by the sculptor’s hand. By using words such as “frown”, “sneer”, and “mocked” the author provides us with a slight portrait of Ozymandias. It gives us a picture of a powerful king with no motivation or reason to smile. The phrases “cold command” portrays him as a militaristic leader that has seen more death and destruction than a whole army and has come to realise that even he is not able to compete with the Almighty.
Shelly’s words “lifeless”, “decay”, and “wreck” apply not only to the statue the author is describing but also the sculptor of the statue. These words encompass his entire being, and go far into bringing Ozymandias alive in the reader.
Shelley cunningly uses Nature and time to bring in the "Mighty" one. God is...