Shelley’s petrarchan sonnet, where it talks about a prideful and demolished statue, show the way hows the romantics embraced the natural world and also includes a past ruler who once had full control and authority over an ancient kingdom. With Robert Browning, of the Victorian age, he represents power and pride through the narrative technique which makes it seem as if the duke is speaking directly to an audience, powerful as it captures the reader’s attention.

The ruler was known to be ‘sneer of cold command’, showing that Ozymandias somewhat abused his power due to his cruelness and his dictator like qualities. The harsh alliteration and strong repetition of the letter ‘c’ gives again the representation of power. The word ‘command’ can represent dictatorship and the fixed authority of others and ‘cold’ may display the abuse of being in-charge and carrying too much pride. The male poet also describes the area as ‘boundless and bare’, giving emphasis of the emptiness of the desert which has survived longer than the tattered statue which is now lifeless. The rhythm of the iambic pentameter illustrates a heartbeat perhaps to make the poem include some irony as his life has already ended at this point.

In similar, ‘My last duchess’ is based on an Italian duke who possesses a lot of power also. We can see this by the fact that he refers to his surname as a ‘nine hundred years old name’, showing that his family ancestry has been one of significance. The duke seems to be extremely proud of his name to even know what his has been one of power for all centuries. This poem turns out to be a dramatic monologue where the speaker is clearly distinct from the poet and this gives the reader the impression that a poet hasn’t written this. This creates the sense of an audience being present although there isn’t one. I have also noticed that Shelley decided to use rhyming couplets to not only keep a rigid form structure wise giving the poem a neat appearance but also the regularity of the rhyme mirrors the duke’s stubborn, unwavering character and personality which he if full of.

Another point from Ozymandias is that power is explored in many ways however mostly puts the temporary side of nature of human power. The poem describes the statue as a ‘shattered visage’, expressing that even a powerful human with a high level of social status cannot control the damaging and impacting effects of time. This brings about some irony as there is nothing left for the arrogant ruler to boast about or any aspect of his civilisation. The ruins of the statue could possibly symbolise temporary political power or human achievements leading to believe that Shelley’s use of constant irony reflects his hatred of oppression and his belief that it is possible to overturn social and political order.

Ultimately, nature has tarnished the statue suggesting once more that nature and time have more power and importance than humans could ever have regardless of how high your status is. With Browning’s poem it shows that if you ever misuse power for your own personal purposes in order to satisfy yourself than that same negative response will happen right back at you, highlighting that too much pride is a big flaw that attaches many permanent or damaging defects along it. Both authors may have intended to display the theme of power and pride as an undesirable quality which can lead to many consequences whether you are living in their world or living in our world such as the situation of life ending because of death which we know has happened to Ozymandias.


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