Rhyme in Ozymandias
“Ozymandias” is a 14-line sonnet. Shelley employs a unique scheme that disorients readers looking for familiar patterns of rhyme. The standard Shakespearean sonnet uses an ABAB-CDCD-EFEF-GG rhyme scheme. The first three quatrains have steady, predictable alternating rhymes. The final couplet offers a punch at the end. In Ozymandias, Shelley uses a very different scheme: ABAB-ACDC-EDE-FDF. In some cases these are are slant rhymes—“appear”/“despair”—and resist detection. This scheme, with its less memorable rhymes, supports the poem’s theme of inevitable oblivion: just as every person will be forgotten, so will every work of poetry.
Rhyme Examples in Ozymandias:
"stone..." See in text (Ozymandias)
Many of the rhymes Shelley employs in the poem are slant rhymes, which means that the paired words are not identical in their vowel sounds. Examples include "stone"/"frown", as well as "appear"/"despair." This flexibility allows for more options in diction, as well as a less formal tone.