Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the poem “Ozymandias of Egypt” by P. B. Shelley of the Assam Board (AHSEC / SEBA) Class 12 Alternative English (Vibgyor) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: The narrator of the poem “Ozymandias of Egypt” encounters a traveller from an ancient land in the poem. He said it was Ozymandias’s broken statue that was lying in the vast desert, the sands of which belonged to Egypt’s powerful King Ozymandias.
In the desert, he came across two enormous trunks of stone. The statue’s shattered head and face were partially buried in the sand. The enormous size of the statue’s legs lends support to its humongous stature. Ozymandias’ pride and rage could be seen in the statue’s half-visible face. Fear had a frown and a mask of sneer that suggested Ozymandia’s control over his subjects.
Afterwards, the narrator expressed his admiration for the sculptor’s skill in capturing the ruler’s conceitedness. Engraving the king’s passions on his face was obvious. “When you see my works, Yemighty, you will despair,” was inscribed on the pedestal of the statue. “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings.” The statue itself, on the other hand, had vanished into oblivion. A long time had passed since the vain Ozymandias died and his kingdom had been reduced to a wasteland, but his vainglory and pride could still be seen on the stones.
The king had died, but the artist’s fingerprints could still be seen on the statue’s broken pieces. These sculptures appear to mock the king’s vanity and arrogance. The idea that art is more long-lasting and permanent than material property and human life is what Shelley is trying to convey here. Using Ozymandias, the poet expresses his thoughts on political power’s transience and the fleeting nature of human existence.
Answer the following questions in one or two words.
1. Name the poet of “Ozymandias of Egypt.”
Answer: Percy Bysshe Shelley is the poet of the poem.
2. When and where was the poet born?
Answer: In 1792, he was born in Sussex, England.
3. Which country is referred to as “an antique land”,?
Answer: “Antique land” is the term used to describe Egypt.
4. In the poem, whose “hand” “mocked them”?
Answer: King Ozymandias’s statue was carved by a sculptor whose hand mocked the king’s haughtiness and vanity.
5. Who did the narrator meet?
Answer: A traveller from an ancient land was encountered by the narrator.
Answer the following questions in a few words
1. What is a sonnet?
Answer: Sonnets are fourteen-line poems that can be written in a variety of rhyming schemes.
2. Who was Ozymandias?
Answer: Ramses II, a pharaoh of Egypt, was known to the Greeks as Ozymandias. He was renowned for a number of architectural projects. He was also known for his arrogance and self-importance.
3. What did the traveller come across in the desert?
Answer: A shattered statue of Egypt’s powerful king Ozymandias was discovered in the desert by the traveller. He came across two trunkless legs of stone in the desert, while the broken head of the statue was buried in the sand.
4. What was inscribed on the pedestal of the statue?
Answer: Statue pedestal was inscribed with these words:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings,
Look on my works, Ye mighty and despair”.
5. Whose greatness is actually glorified in the poem?
Answer: In the poem, the poet extols the virtues of art as something more enduring and meaningful than wealth. Although Ozymandias had died and his kingdom had become a desolate wasteland, the humble artist’s hand was still visible on the statue’s crumbling parts.
Answer the following questions briefly in your own words.
1. What does “wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command” signify?
Answer: King Ozymandias is depicted with a “wrinkled lip and a sneer of cold command” in the expression. The king’s arrogance can be seen in the expression on his face. Furthermore, the sculptor’s ability to carve and mock the king’s arrogance and vacuity is a sign of his efficiency. As time went on, his power and treasury were lost, but his artist’s mark was preserved.
2. Describe the condition of the statue that the traveller comes across in the desert.
Answer: A shattered statue was discovered in the vast desert by the traveller. In the desert, he noticed two trunk-like stone legs. The enormous size of the statue’s legs served as a visual cue of its immense stature. Near the statue, the shattered face of the statue lay half-buried in the sand. The king’s pride, arrogance, and vanity could be seen on his half-visible face. The frown and wrinkled lips were clearly visible on the statue’s broken face, revealing that the sculptor had etched the king’s passions into the statue’s face.
3. What kind of a king was Ozymandias?
Answer: Ozymandias, the king of ancient Egypt, was a proud and arrogant individual. In the broken face of the statue, his arrogance and conceit were reflected in the frown, wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command. He hired a sculptor to build a statue of himself in order to preserve his legacy and honour his name. King of kings was his claim to fame. Even though he was arrogant and foolish, he asked the ‘Mighty’, i.e., God, to look at what he had done and despair for that. Ozymandias was so arrogant as to think of himself as the world’s most powerful tyrant.
Give suitable answers to the following
1. What is the message that the poet wants to convey in the poem?
Answer: P.B. Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias of Egypt” conveys the message that human power is insignificant in the grand scheme of nature. In doing so, it reveals the ephemeral nature of existence. Obsession with power and glory for its own sake is not only short-lived but also full of illusions and unworthy goals, as evidenced by the crumbling statue of King Ozymandias. The sculpture was commissioned by Ozymandias to represent his enduring power. But as time passed, the king died, leaving only the ruins of his shattered statue. The statue’s shattered pieces littered the vast desert. The king’s arrogance and self-importance perished with him, demonstrating the fecklessness of all material might, including the pelf of man. As time progresses, human glory and pomp never fade away. As the poet points out, human power is futile, but art endures because it can withstand the test of time. The broken statue faces preserved the sculptor’s talent. The ruins of the statue speak of the artist’s efficiency, but the king and his empire were long gone. So, the poet conveys the message of human mortality and the permanence of art.
2. What else remained there besides the broken statue? What does it signify?
Answer: Aside from the shattered statue in the vast desert, the sculptor’s artistic hands left an impression on the statue of King Ozymandias, mocking the king’s arrogance and vanity. When confronted with the material world, art is powerful. In the grand scheme of things, art lasts far longer than human life. On the statue’s broken parts, the artist’s greatness was evident. In this way, it shows that art is superior to material wealth because it can withstand the test of time better than the latter.
Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions
1. From where did the visitor come?
Answer: The visitor’s home country was ancient Egypt.
2. Where exactly is the antique land that this poem made reference to?
Answer: It is Egypt, an antique land, that the poet is referring to.
12. What is the main idea of “Ozymandias of Egypt”?
Answer: The central theme of Shelley’s sonnet “Ozymandias of Egypt” is man’s vanity and ambiguity in relation to art. Art possesses more material durability. To perpetuate his legacy, King Ozymandias had a statue of himself erected. It was an enormous statue. The king was obese and haughty. His riding and arrogance, however, ended in decay and destruction, as just the remnants of his statue remained in the vast desert. The mark of the sculptor who masterfully portrayed the egotistical nature of the king, nevertheless, withstood the ravages of time. The sculptor’s hand appeared to ridicule the king’s pride and vanity. Through this poem, Shelley affirms the concept of human mortality and the enduring nature of art.
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