Poetry Module: Ozymandias by Percy Shelley 1 of 2

This blog is about the poem Ozymandias which was written in 1837 by Percy Shelley. It is a poem taken from the Power and Conflict section of the GCSE AQA Poetry Anthology

Today we will………..

  • Learn about the context of the poem and the Romantic movement which the poet Percy Shelley was part of
  • Annotate the poem and dig deeper into its possible meaning

You will need…….

  • A pen, pencil and coloured pen or highlighter if you have one
  • A copy of the poem

By the end of this blog you will….

  • Have a good understanding of what the poem is about the significance of key words and phrases

You Do

Context: Watch this video in order to learn about the historical figure ” Ozymandias” and the poet Percy Shelley who wrote it and answer the questions that follow

Tasks for You

Here is the poem for you to read again. Pay particular attention to the words which are highlighted


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 shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked 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.”

Getting to grips with this sonnet

You Do

These questions will help you to understand this poem which is a sonnet.

A sonnet is a particular form of poetry which usually has fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes, typically having ten syllables per line.

  1. Who was Ozymandias and why did the Egyptians think it was important to build statues of such figures?
  2. What state is the statue in? Look up any vocabulary that you do not know and consider the phrases “ trunkless legs” and ” shattered visage.”
  3. What do the phrases “wrinkled lip” and ” sneer of cold command” suggest about his personality?
  4. What is a pedestal in this poem? What is written on it and why?

Taking it further….

Explore this link to find out more about Egyptian Sculptures


Recap on what you have learnt with this quick quiz


If you would like to find out more about the Romantic movement which Percy Shelley was a part of – click here