"Ozymandias" is a sonnet written by Percy Bysshe Shelley that tells the story of a traveller who encounters a broken statue in the desert. The statue is a grand depiction of a once-great ruler, Ozymandias (the Greek name for the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II), but now lies in ruins, with only the legs and a shattered face remaining.
Ozymandias brings forth the dichotomy that has been prevalent in society. For ages, emperors have thought of immortalizing themselves through their enormous wealth and power. They have had a firm belief that through powerful structures, they can immortalize themselves and rule for eternity. But Shelley has proved the fallacy of this nation by showing the ruins of the mighty king Ozymandias who had tried to immortalize himself.
The traveller describes the inscription on the pedestal, which reads, "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" The irony of the inscription lies in the fact that Ozymandias' once-great kingdom has crumbled into dust, and there is nothing left of his former glory.
The poem reflects on the fleeting nature of power and the impermanence of all things. It suggests that even the most powerful rulers are ultimately powerless against the forces of time and nature. The image of the shattered statue and the inscription serve as a reminder that everything is subject to decay and that even the greatest achievements are temporary.
The poem is a powerful commentary on the human condition, and it speaks to the transience of all things. It is a warning against arrogance and hubris and a reminder that even the most powerful empires will eventually crumble.