Class 10 Literature Reader


Percy Bysshe Shelley


This poem tries to convey two important aspects of life. One of the aspect is short life span of power and glory of a human being and another aspect is the sheer vastness of the mother nature.

The first stanza highlights the fragility of humans which is aptly mimicked by the broken statue. The huge stone legs are standing on the pedestal and look as lifeless as a leg would be without the body. The head is lying half sunk in the sand as if sinking in the sands of time. The permanent sneer on the face of the bust shows that sculptor was quite successful in carving the human emotion on stone.

The poet says that the remnants of the statue are gigantic in proportions but they are nevertheless dwarfed by the vastness of the desert.

Exercise Questions

Multiple Choice Questions

Question 1: The poem is set in …………………….

  1. The wilderness
  2. An ancient land
  3. A palace
  4. A desert

    Answer: (d) A desert

Question 2: The expression on the face of the statue is one of ………………….

  1. Admiration
  2. Anger
  3. Despair
  4. Contempt

    Answer: (d) Contempt

Question 3: The poem throws light on the ……………..nature of Ozymandias.

  1. Cruel
  2. Arrogant
  3. Boastful
  4. Aggressive

    Answer: (c) Boastful

Question 4: The sculptor was able to understand Ozymandias’ ……………………..

  1. Words
  2. Expressions
  3. Feelings
  4. Ambition

    Answer: (c) Feelings

Question 5: The tone of the poem is …………………….

  1. Mocking
  2. Nostalgic
  3. Gloomy
  4. Gloating

    Answer: (a) Mocking

Answer the following questions briefly

Question 1: “The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed”. Whose hand and heart has the poet referred to in this line?

Answer: The sculptor’s hands and heart are referred to in this line. It was the sculptor whose hands must have copied the inner feelings of the Ozymandia while making the statue.

Question 2: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings”. Why does Ozymandias refer to himself as King of Kings? What quality of the king is revealed through this statement?

Answer: Ozymandias may have become a powerful king by defeating the other kings. He may have assumed all the powers as per his wishes and that is why he refers to himself as King of Kings. This statement shows that the king must be very proud of his achievements.

Question 3: “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Who is Ozymandias referring to when he speaks of ye Mighty? Why should they despair?

Answer: Ozymandias is probably referring to his enemy kings to feel despair at his achievements.

Question 4: Bring out the irony in the poem.

Answer: The once powerful king who was glorified through a grand statue is no more and even his statue is shattered into pieces; lying against the backdrop of mighty nature. This is the irony in the poem.

Question 5: “Nothing beside remains”. What does the narrator mean when he says these words?

Answer: Apart from the trunkless legs on the pedestal and a shattered visage, no remains of the once grand statue can be seen in the vast desert. By saying this, the narrator tries to highlight that a time comes when everything has to meet its end.

Question 6: What is your impression of Ozymandias as a king?

Answer: Ozymandias could have been a powerful king who wanted to enjoy his days of glory. He also wanted to leave a mark in the form of a grand statue so that the future generations could remember him.

Question 7: What message is conveyed through this poem?

Answer: This poem tells about the insignificance of the life of an individual when seen in the larger context of time which never stops to take notice.