Comparative Analysis Of “Ozymandias” And “Ode To The Grecian Urn”

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

In the two poems, “Ode to the Grecian Urn” by John Keats and “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelley both poems go on to inflict messages hidden in each stanza. In the essay, it will discuss how both poems are relatively different yet share a similar characteristic that represents the passing of time and how time is of the essence. Both poems show similar forms of time and each poet uses its wording to display this image of either frozen and time moving along. They both also use the urn as a reference to romantic characteristics with a twist of enjoying each piece as art. Both the statue and the urn play significant roles in both poems and are used to create feelings towards the readers. Even though “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats and “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelley appear to be two completely distinct poems they share similar characteristics. In “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” Keats talks to the urn, and as the urn is telling a story, Keats goes on to describe the art that is on the urn.

In both poems, they show the art form by which they describe it in the poems, in Keats poem goes on to talk about an urn talking to him while it demonstrates they are within it. Each poem describes its version of what they saw. Keats uses these realistic images that connect to the real world as well as fiction. He begins with trying to be one with the urn and adds scenes of nature, and that’s when all the thoughts begin to run through his mind. The image/illusion that’s within the urn can be there forever and ever thus evoking time and still not have any answer as to what it represents. Since the urn seen as a human being the poet speaks to it and finds itself into a dreamy fantasy of a couple who are stuck in time with either of them never getting a kiss it states, “She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt love, and she be fair!”. This quote represents time never moving forward because the woman will never grow old and she will continue to be young and beautiful.

Since being frozen in time this means that in reality nothing is ever frozen everything is either lived or just passed by nothing can stand still which is what the urn represents in this poem. Since the urn represents the time, it demonstrates how it will continue to hold beautifully as ever while everything else fades thus serving time itself. The urn will never realize reality and the pain that is inflicted that happens in the real world because individuals do not live in fantasy land. While in “Ozymandias,” Shelley discusses how a man finds a statue, not just any statue but an ancient statue of a king. Shelley uses the words that appear on the pedestal to tie it with time because this set was in a different period when the sculptor built a statue of a powerful king who had got away with many things at the time.

The traveler continues to discuss with the sculptor who no longer exists but yet connects it with going back in time as if to have a flashback of what once was. Since it was about a king who ruled and because he ruled it demonstrates how in the modern time how the king no longer means anything. He is not valued as he was before only because times do change and this poem goes on to say, “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay, Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare’ implying that nature has its ways of displaying time passing because mother nature has its way of changing and moving objects around. Whether it consists of any typical form of a storm, will always show a passing of time and evolution. What remains in the past stays in the past and whatever remains from the past is only recollected based on history and stories. Again, Shelley begins the poem capturing the image of two huge stone legs and along the sand is a broken stone head.

Implying that it is in complete ruins, it is no longer valued, and the King is insignificant but was once prominent in the past. Thus, time passes on, and all will be forgotten both the king and the sculptor, although it is a statue it continues to survive, and that is a form of art in the present.Nonetheless, it goes along with the saying that whenever we pass all that we obtained in the living world will not accompany us and all the hard work and dedication we put in a living will be all forgotten just as the remains of the king’s statue. Keats’s “Ode to a Grecian Urn” and Shelley’s “Ozymandias” are different because of the usage of the urn and the statue representing time. Keats uses time as a form of beauty, and his poem flows in a relaxing yet imaginable way as opposed to Shelley’s which is straight-forward and simple. However, time is one common characteristic that both poems share. They may seem to not be at all similar at first until the reader realizes what they are trying to portray which does make them different.


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