The poem's first transition occurs between lines 8 and 9, when it moves from the traveller describing the statue to Ozymandias himself, whose pompous hubris shines through the poem. The tone soon returns to the traveler's tone of the first eight lines in the final three lines.
This shift in tone is highlighted by the use of different voices: that of Ozymandias (first person) vs. that of the traveller (third person). The latter begins with a question tag, which signals that we are now listening to someone else talk.
Ozymandias' speech is printed in bold type while that of the traveller is not. This illustrates another difference between the two voices - that of authority/knowledgeability - for it was generally accepted at the time that poets had some degree of influence over their works, so the words of Ozymandias are important here.
Another factor contributing to the shift in tone is the change in subject matter. Where before the poem spoke only of destruction, now it speaks also of hope. This change in focus comes as a surprise to the reader/listener, for whom the poem is mostly about destruction, but it does make sense in light of what came after 1820.
Some argue that the sonnet form was chosen to reflect Ozymandias' narcissistic worship of himself. The statue is detailed in its various components in the first eight lines (octave) to demonstrate its decay through time. Lines six and seven speak to the sculptor and the everlasting character of his works. The final line reprises the opening word ("Ozymandias") in reverse, ending with a complete reversal of meaning.
Sonnets are traditionally divided into three parts: an introductory statement or "claim" (line one), a discussion of the subject's identity or qualities (lines two-five), and a closing summary (lines six-seven). Ozymandias' claim is that he is "king of kings": a king who ruled over all those countries known at the time as "the world." Sonnets 1-18 discuss different aspects of his identity and power while 19-21 focus on his demise. Line 17 contains both a feminine and masculine grammatical gender; depending on how it is interpreted, this may represent either a single king who has conquered many nations or multiple kings who have fallen together.
Sonnets usually follow a pattern of iambic pentameter, which is emphasized by using five pairs of metered lines. This form is common in English poetry because it allows for subtle changes in tone and emphasis between each section of the poem.
The poem employs the figures of speech synecdoche and oxymoron, as well as the poetic devices alliteration, enjambment, caesura, imagery, and symbolism, as well as the dramatic device irony, to contrast Ozymandias' inordinate vanity with the reality of his statue's downfall.
Ozymandias is a character in a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The poem contrasts Ozymandias' great reputation when he was alive with the ridicule he now receives after his death. Shelley wrote the poem while he was living in Italy, where there had been a recent earthquake. He based Ozymandias on a real-life Egyptian pharaoh who had also made a will leaving his own memorial behind him. When Shelley returned to England, he placed the poem in print without altering its original form or content.
Shelley uses various literary devices in order to convey the sense of doom that surrounds Ozymandias. One example is oxymoron, which describes a word or phrase that contains two contradictory terms (such as "brightness followed by darkness" or "cleanliness I then found that fact to be pollution"). In this case, Ozymandias is described as both a tyrant and a fool at the same time. Another device used by Shelley is metaphor, which refers to any comparison that does not contain an actual physical connection (for example, Shelley compares Ozymandias to a rock formation).