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The poem Ozymandias by Percy Shelly and My Last Duchess by Robert Browning are very different. However, they do have something in common, both poems represent power. Ozymandias represents power as poem shows that human life is insignificant compared to the passing of time, even for egotistical kings such as Ozymandias, time is very powerful. My Last Duchess represents power through the narrative technique, which makes it seem as if the Duke is speaking directly to an audience, powerful as it captures the reader.
Shelley’s poem “”Ozymandias”” is about a ruined statue of a powerful ruler who once controlled an ancient kingdom. Browning depicts that Ozymandias was a very harsh ruler – this is shown by the quote, “His sneer of cold command”, his “sneer” shows that Ozymandias somewhat abused his power because he was cruel leader; this leads the reader on to think that King Ozymandias was most likely a dictator in his ancient kingdom. “Cold command” is an example of harsh alliteration, the strong repetition of the letter ‘c’ at the start of both words once again gives a representation of power, “command” also represents the dictatorship of pharaohs kingdom and the use of the word “cold” may show that by being a dictator and abusing power this can reveal that the pharaoh may have been lonely. Shelley also uses alliteration when mentioning the “boundless and bare” desert, it emphasizes the emptiness of the desert, which has survived far longer than the statue which is now lifeless. “bare” and Ozymandias has nothing left after he died because his statue has collapsed, which may represent all the influence he had has collapsed.
In contrast, My Last Duchess is about a duke who is very powerful. We see this by the fact that he refers to his surname as “a nine-hundred-year-old name. This shows that his family ancestry has been one of importance for many hundreds of years. This also suggests to the reader that his name would have been known throughout Italy, predominantly in Ferrara since his surname is still significant nine hundred years later. The Duke seems to be extremely proud of his name to even know that his name has been one of power for these centuries. “Ozymandias” is a sonnet, a fourteen-line poem metered in iambic pentameter.
The rhyme scheme is unusual for a sonnet of this era; it does not fit a conventional Petrarchan pattern, this suggests that things are out of place. Ozymandias’ rule is no longer and time has distorted all of his achievements and power he used to have. This gives evidence that the power the king once had has all been changed, due to the power of time which overshadowed the Ozymandias’ power.
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