Ozymandias

Author

Shelley, Percy

Genre

Poetry

Overview

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) came to prominence in England's Romantic Period and led a life of wide travel and dramatic outspokenness until an untimely drowning death in Italy. "Ozymandias" is his tribute to an ancient leader by that name, who once hailed himself "King of Kings" but now stands only as a crumbling statue to himself, remembered by "a traveler from an antique land." The poem invites us to wonder just what it is that memorials immortalize.

Full Text*

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Source

The Poems of Shelley by Percy Bysshe Shelley (Oxford University Press, 1960) page 550

Type

Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.

Themes

Citizenship and DemocracyLeadership and ResponsibilityPower and Privilege

Big Questions

What is democracy? What does it look like in action?What do we expect from the people we lead? What do we expect from our own leaders?What makes a good leader?What is power? How does it work?

Sample Discussion Questions

  1. What do you think about the description of the statue?
  2. What do you make of the line "nothing beside remains"?
  3. How should leaders care for their communities?
  4. In your own work, how do you make sure your leadership produces good outcomes for the greater group or cause?
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