Literary Devices in Ozymandias

Ozymandias 3
"Tell that its sculptor well those passions read..."   (Ozymandias)

With somber irony, Shelley praises the clever sculptor who gave immortality not to Ozymandias's glory but to the king's presumptuous conceit by perfectly capturing the sneer to convey Ozymandias’s arrogance and condescension.

"sneer of cold command..."   (Ozymandias)

A sneer is a facial expression that conveys derision, contempt, or scorn, and the expression on the face implies that Ozymandias had enormous influence over but also little regard for his subjects. Additionally, the repetition of the harsh c-sound further emphasizes his harsh and domineering attitude and suggests the kind of environment in which he ruled.

"I met a traveller..."   (Ozymandias)

In this sonnet, Shelley forgoes the conventional rhyme scheme to employ a more eccentric pattern of ABAB, ACDC, ECE, FEF. This creates the immediate effect of a woven tapestry of sound and rhythm that helps to underscore the poem’s essential irony. As the reader’s expectations are unmet, the very syntax forced by the unusual rhyme of the poem creates tension that matches the theme.