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Identify Key Themes in 'Ozymandias'

In this worksheet, students will be able to use this activity to practise knowledge of key themes in 'Ozymandias'.

'Identify Key Themes in 'Ozymandias'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Eduqas

Curriculum topic:   Poetry, Poetry 1789 to the Present Day

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'Ozymandias', 'Ozymandias'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Want to revise some key themes in 'Ozymandias'?

 

You've come to the right place!

 

Thought bubble

 

To quickly recap: Written by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias is about a description from a traveller, who describes his thoughts after viewing the statue of 'Ozymandias', an Egyptian pharaoh from the 13th century. Throughout the poem, Ozymandias' powerful influence is constantly reinforced, however, when we look deeper into the traveller's words, we see a different side to Ozymandias!

 

The worksheet is straightforward. You'll get a quote and all you need to do is identify the theme that you think is being presented.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It'll help if you write down whatever new or important information you learn along the way! 

 

Tick one key theme in the poem. 

 

Prejudice

Power

Romance

Distance

Fill in the blank in this sentence, with reference to the quote "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings".

 

Pick from one of these themes:

 

- sexuality

- love

- pride

- peacefulness

Prejudice

Power

Romance

Distance

Which of these quotes best shows the theme of arin the poem?

 

 

 

"Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare"

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings"

"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone"

"Well those passions read...which yet survive"

Write down one theme out of the selection below which you think is presented in lines 12 and 13 of the poem?

 

Just put the word that you think is correct, not the definition in brackets (if there is one).

 

- Transience (time is limited)

- Isolation (being alone)

- Weather

- Anger

 

Write down one theme out of the selection below which you think is presented in line five:

 

- Corruption

- Insanity

- Hatred

- Power

- Unity

- Art and culture

 

Which of these themes isn't present in the poem?

 

Love

Irony

Arrogance

Prejudice

Power

Have a go at matching the quote to the theme/motif.

Column A

Column B

"Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare"
Pride
"The lone and level sands stretch far away"
Transience
"Tell that its sculptor, well those passions read"
Irony
"Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair"
Art

Write down one theme/motif out of the selection below which you think is presented in line four:

 

- ​Calmness

- Irony

- Nature

- Sexuality

- Transience

Write down one theme out of the selection below which you think is presented in the last line:

 

 

- ​Love

- Nature

- War

- Time

- Conflict

- Power

Last one! 

 

Write down what you think is one important/key theme in the poem.

 

 

 

On a sheet of paper, write down why you think this is the most important/key theme. This'll come in handy for the evaluation activity!

 

  • Question 1

Tick one key theme in the poem. 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Power
EDDIE SAYS
The theme of power is huge- one of the largest in the poem!
  • Question 2

Fill in the blank in this sentence, with reference to the quote "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings".

 

Pick from one of these themes:

 

- sexuality

- love

- pride

- peacefulness

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Well done if you chose 'pride'! The quote tells us a lot about how Ozymandias views himself and his character. The theme of "pride" is very important, especially in this line. Ozymandias refers to himself as "King of Kings", which gives the impression that he thinks very highly of himself, (pretty self-centred, if you ask us!). Think about what this theme may suggest. Does the poem act as a warning against the dangers of having too much pride? Think about Ozymandias' legacy as a statue- is it still intact?
  • Question 3

Which of these quotes best shows the theme of arin the poem?

 

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Well those passions read...which yet survive"
EDDIE SAYS
The theme/motif of "art" is important in showing that Ozymandias' legacy remains. Without the statue (a form of art) being built the traveller wouldn't know about Ozymandias, which would mean that we wouldn't know about Ozymandias! Think about it like this; art is used as a theme to show the importance of longevity- without the statue, we wouldn't know anything about Ozymandias' story nor would we see the personality which shines through the sculpture.
  • Question 4

Write down one theme out of the selection below which you think is presented in lines 12 and 13 of the poem?

 

Just put the word that you think is correct, not the definition in brackets (if there is one).

 

- Transience (time is limited)

- Isolation (being alone)

- Weather

- Anger

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Transience
EDDIE SAYS
Transience (the idea that time is limited) is very prominent- Ozymandias is literally rotting away with time! What do you think this means? Is Ozymandias going to live forever, as he desires, or is time his greatest enemy? What does the statue represent about time in relation to decay?
  • Question 5

Write down one theme out of the selection below which you think is presented in line five:

 

- Corruption

- Insanity

- Hatred

- Power

- Unity

- Art and culture

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Power
Art
Culture
Art and culture
EDDIE SAYS
Power and art/culture are the two dominant themes in the quote, so if you got either one of these, well done! The idea of power is interesting- a "wrinkled" and a "sneer of cold command" show that Ozymandias is a dominant king who is so powerful, it's reflected in his statue. Yet, does this power last? How is power represented? Art and culture is also a theme in the quote. Even to this day, years and years after the statue was built, we can see Ozymandias' expression and therefore understand his personality. It's a well-built statue!
  • Question 6

Which of these themes isn't present in the poem?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Prejudice
EDDIE SAYS
Prejudice isn't present in the poem. We don't really assume anything about Ozymandias before being provided with evidence from the traveller, so it's hard to argue that prejudice could be a theme. Instead, Shelley focuses on themes which relate to how Ozymandias thinks of himself. If you got confused with the theme of love, don't be concerned, it's a tricky one to understand! Love, in the poem, relates to the love Ozymandias has for himself. Another way to demonstrate this would be to refer to his pride. Look at the 14 line sonnet form- love is present in the poem, a kind of damaging self-love which relates to arrogance, pride and cruelty too.
  • Question 7

Have a go at matching the quote to the theme/motif.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

"Of that colossal wreck, boundles...
Irony
"The lone and level sands stretch...
Transience
"Tell that its sculptor, well tho...
Art
"Look on my works, ye mighty, and...
Pride
EDDIE SAYS
It's really important to be able to link quotes with certain themes! Be creative with them and remember to always argue your case with analysis and justification.
  • Question 8

Write down one theme/motif out of the selection below which you think is presented in line four:

 

- ​Calmness

- Irony

- Nature

- Sexuality

- Transience

CORRECT ANSWER
Irony
Transience
EDDIE SAYS
Line four is a great quote, which very early on shows the current state of Ozymandias. The themes of irony and transience are both used. Think about what Shelley might have wanted to portray when he describes the statue as "shattered". Does this show that Ozymandias' timeline is very short? What does this word "shattered" imply about Ozymandias' power, centuries after his rule? Think about why Shelley has added this information so early in the poem. Does it set a tone for how we should view Ozymandias- "boundless and bare"? Irony is also very important in this quote. Early on in the poem, we find out about the destroyed statue of Ozymandias. Yet, the poem reflects Ozymandias' arrogance. What point is Shelley trying to make about Ozymandias and the kind of power and arrogance he represents? It seems that Ozymandias can't really see beyond himself, can he?
  • Question 9

Write down one theme out of the selection below which you think is presented in the last line:

 

 

- ​Love

- Nature

- War

- Time

- Conflict

- Power

CORRECT ANSWER
Nature
Time
EDDIE SAYS
The themes of nature and time are present in this quote. Nature is given power here. It seems so much bigger and much more dominant than Ozymandias and his statue- despite all of Ozymandias' bragging! Also, look at how nature seems to destroy the statue over time, chipping away at it. Nothing, not even human arrogance and power, can stand in the way of nature. No one is above it despite how hard certain kings seem to try to override it! As well as this, the theme of time passing is significant. The "sands stretch far away" really shows how Ozymandias is going to be all alone for a very long time... Poor guy (although it's hard to feel sorry for him).
  • Question 10

Last one! 

 

Write down what you think is one important/key theme in the poem.

 

 

 

On a sheet of paper, write down why you think this is the most important/key theme. This'll come in handy for the evaluation activity!

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Transience
Power
Irony
Pride
Art
Nature
EDDIE SAYS
If you choose a theme that isn't on this list, that's okay, as long as you can find at least two quotes which back up this theme. If you can't, then it's probably not a theme but a one time reference you're thinking of. Remember, always justify your answer, using appropriate quotes and comprehensive analysis!
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