Thursday, March 12, 2009


I was thinking about the relevance of the poem Ozymandius. Part of the poem appears on a massive sculpture in the film. The poem is all about how time will obliterate the works of even the most powerful and ambitious of men. Or the pointlessness of everything in the face of time and decay. (how uplifting).

I haven't decided what the significance is in the story, can anyone else shed light on this? Maybe it will become clearer as I read the rest of the book.

For those who have not seen it, here is the poem:

by: Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler 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 Ozymandius, 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.


detecktive said...

I can see a couple of possible parallels, but very tenuous. Still thinking about it.

My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

To me this sums up Adrian's work, his supposed plan to 'save the world' the essentially involves mass destruction. However, he views it as a work that will stand the test of time and be ageless.

爱书 said...

In the movie, not sure about the GN, there is a statue with
"My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
on it in his fortress in Antarctica.

I don't think the poem and the ultimate futility of Ozymandius' plan are unconnected.

In fact, I think the author (if it's in the GN and not just a screen addition) would well have known the link and he used it as another subtle way to highlight that Ozymandius would fail and fall into obscurity, just as that ancient king in the poem did

Nic said...

Having chosen his name, and as the smartest man in the world, relating to the poem only, you have to wonder if he missed "nothing beside remains". Relating to Ramses II, more of the if anyone wants to know how great I am, let him surpass my work, which is rather more "how great I am".

Nic said...

Wow - how to make no sense at al! I just reread what I wrote and it's almost unintelligible! Sorry!