Ozymandias and the Grecian Urn Paper

917 Words Nov 18th, 2012 4 Pages
Even though “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelley and “Ode to a Grecian Urn” by John Keats sound like very different types of poems, they still share some of the same characteristics. In “Ozymandias,” Shelley tells a story of how a man found a ancient statue of a king, with the words “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,/ Look on my Works, ye Might, and despair!” The statue was broken into pieces, and the land was bare, with nothing to “look on” (11). In “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” Keats is speaking to an ancient urn and describing the unchanging pictures that are on it. These poems are very different in how their objects interact with the passing of time and in the feelings that they invoke in the reader, but very similar in the romantic …show more content…
The urn depicts many scenes of nature and peacefulness. Another similarity that both poems share is that they show the insignificance of something that is supposed to be great, like a king, and the value of something that is supposed to be ordinary, like an urn. Once again, in “Ozymandias”, the king and his great town are destroyed. This seems like Shelley’s way of rooting for the revolutions, of making a king not so important anymore. After all is said and done, the “lone and level sands stretch far away” (14). No matter whether one is a king or a peasant, everyone dies, and in the end, being a king does not make you greater than a peasant. In “Ode to a Grecian Urn”, Keats glorifies the common urn. He makes the urn, which could have probably been found in many homes, seem special to the reader. Like many romantics, he took an ordinary item and turned it into an extraordinary one.
Shelley’s “Ozymandias” and Keats’s “Ode to a Grecian Urn” differ in the ways that the statue and the urn interact with the passing of time and in the feelings that they invoke in the readers; however, they still ironically share similar romantic characteristics. The poems may not seem very comparable at first, but once the reader considers what each poet is trying to convey, they do not seem so different after all. Again, it is the ironic and opposite parallels that actually add up to express the same beliefs of both

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