what is a tyrant leader? What should happen to a tyrant leader if they rule until they die. Should they be remembered? Have a legacy? Why or why not?
Ozymandius is a poem that comments on the short lived power and impact of a tyrannical leader. Shelley was known for being outspoken and this poem is considered one of his more “tame” works.
Ozymandius - Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Link to the poem read by Bryan Cranston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3dpghfRBHE
1. What line resonates with you? Pick a line from the poem and tell what you think it describes.
2. Annotate your poem as we walk through the lines together.
3. Reflect: What do you think Ozymandias would say if he could see what has happened to his crumbling statue? Would he be humbled or would he find some other way to boast?
4. Are there political leaders today that you consider to be similar to Ozymandias, or is he a different case because he had absolute power? Which leaders would you want to read this poem and why?
Making a connection to modern day: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1100529.stm
Shelley's friend Horace Smith wrote this poem on the following topic (both submitted their poems to the same periodical and both were published).
On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt
Horace Smith (1779-1849)
IN Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desart knows:—
"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
"The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
"The wonders of my hand."— The City's gone,—
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.