Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
Shelley’s words highlight the myth of permanence. While one can construct dramatic, seemingly endless buildings and monuments, everything will eventually fall. Ramses II may have ordered the construction of the most glorious works of his time, but the desert ultimately reclaimed them.
Shelley uses the emperor’s story as a moral lesson: while power and wealth are significant in the moment, after death, everything declines.
The famous ending of the original Planet of the Apes movie has parallels with the end of “Ozymandias.” Here, again, is an abandoned statue symbolizing the destruction of a seemingly invincible empire — America’s.
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