The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Explore How Themes Develop in 'Ozymandias'

In this worksheet, students will evaluate how key themes develop in 'Ozymandias'. Students will then be able to identify key themes in the poem.

'Explore How Themes Develop 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 how key themes develop in 'Ozymandias'?

 

Thought bubble

 

This activity will help you understand how Shelley's language choice and tone develop these key themes in the poem. In other words, what is the effect of these key themes on the reader? What exactly is Shelley trying to show about these key themes? First, let's identify the main themes in the poem.

 

Power

Pride

Nature

Irony

Grandness

Art and culture

Transience

 

This activity is designed so that you, not only identify these key themes and ideas in the poem according to the language Shelley uses, but explore how these themes develop in the poem. So how does Shelley develop these themes in his poem?

 

 

Here's an example of an evaluation on the theme of pride in the poem:

 

Shelley centres the theme of pride in Ozymandias, portraying the impact of having too much pride. Ozymandias refers to himself as the "king of kings", showcasing his arrogance. However, the fact that Ozymandias is now a "colossal wreck, boundless and bare" illustrates that his pride has been reduced to nothing over time. Shelley uses Ozymandias' statue to illustrate the downfall of having too much pride.

 

If you want to make this activity more of a revision exercise then jot these themes down. If you want to use this activity to test yourself, then go ahead and try to memorise these key themes. It's up to you how you want to use this activity.

 

 

Remember, it's not a race. So take your time with each step! You'll be fine.

Let's begin with the theme/motif of time. How is time presented in the quote below?

 

"The lone and level sands stretch far away"

 

Hint: think specifically about the image created of the sand, and perhaps the language techniques used to emphasise the theme.

 

Pick the answer which you think is the most detailed.

 

The imagery of the sands stretching far depicts the idea of forgetting

The imagery of the sands stretching depicts the idea of time slowly passing by, and the statue being forgotten

The imagery of the sand stretching portrays time slowly passing, but the statue remaining intact

Looking at the theme of nature.

 

 

Pick two quotes which show this theme.

"Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare"

"Near them on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies"

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings"

"The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed"

Let's look at how the themes of pride and transience link.

 

In the table below, tick the box if you think the quote shows either theme. If the quote shows both themes, then tick under both themes.

 

Hint: think about pride as a negative trait! 

 

Double hint: think about the symbolic pride present in the size/vastness of the statue.

 PrideTransience (time passing)
"My name is Ozymandias King of Kings"
"Nothing beside remains. Round the decay"
"Of that colossal wreck"
"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone"
"...and sneer of cold command"

Looking at the theme/motif of power.

 

What quote best shows the portrayal of power?

 

"I met a traveller from an antique land"

"And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command"

"The lone and level sands stretch far away"

"The hand that mocked them..."

Looking at the theme/motif of grandness

 

How does Shelley use this theme to make his poem more interesting to read?

 

Tick the most detailed answer.

 

Shelley uses the theme of grandness to scare a reader, portraying Ozymandias as a very powerful and bold character

Shelley uses the theme of grandness to depict the size of the statue- the statue appears to be extremely grand

Shelley uses the theme of grandness to prove how weak and insignificant Ozymandias really is

Shelley uses the theme of grandness as a way to portray irony- Ozymandias' statue is very grand, however, it is also now ruined and isolated

Let's have a look at this quote:

 

"Tell that its sculptor well those passions read"

 

Write down one theme which you think this quote expresses.

 

Pick one out of:

 

- Love

- Art and culture

- Nature

- Culture

- Sand

- Time

- Decay

Which quote best shows the theme/motif of transience?

 

"The lone and level sands stretch far away"

"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone"

"I met a traveller from an antique land"

"Which yet survive..."

"And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command"

Let's link how art, culture and power are connected.

 

In the table below, tick the box if you think the quote shows either theme. If the quote shows both themes, then tick under both themes.

 

Hint: think about who Shelley credits for Ozymandias' legacy- the sculptor or Ozymandias?

 Art and culturePower
"...its sculptor well those passions read"
"...stamped on these lifeless things"
"Which yet survive"
"And sneer of cold command"

Looking at the theme/motif of nature.

 

 

Pick the answer that you think best shows how Shelley develops this theme in the poem. There are two correct answers.

Shelley presents nature as an opponent to Ozymandias' power- the greater the power Ozymandias exerts, the more nature "fights" back

Shelley presents nature as an asset to Ozymandias- it helps to spread his story and adds to his power

Shelley depicts nature as something that decreases in power. By the end of the poem, nature has lost its significance

Shelley depicts nature as a growing power. By the end, nature seems to have overpowered Ozymandias

Last question! An easier one, for all your hard work.

 

 

Which two themes, out of the five listed, are the most obvious in the poem?

Pride

Nature

Power

Art and culture

Time

  • Question 1

Let's begin with the theme/motif of time. How is time presented in the quote below?

 

"The lone and level sands stretch far away"

 

Hint: think specifically about the image created of the sand, and perhaps the language techniques used to emphasise the theme.

 

Pick the answer which you think is the most detailed.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The imagery of the sands stretching depicts the idea of time slowly passing by, and the statue being forgotten
EDDIE SAYS
The imagery of sand stretching while Ozymandias' statue slowly gets ruined over time, shows that the passing of time is a very significant theme in the poem. It is time that causes Ozymandias' statue to wear down and time is what causes everyone to forget his legacy. Why do you think this line has been put at the right end of the poem? Does it seem as if the passing of time will continue to make the statue even less significant?
  • Question 2

Looking at the theme of nature.

 

 

Pick two quotes which show this theme.

CORRECT ANSWER
"Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare"
"Near them on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies"
EDDIE SAYS
Both quotes here show the power of nature and the part it plays in destroying the statue. Nature also relates to the natural- Ozymandias dying and time passing are all natural things, but it seems as if Ozymandias rejects this idea by constructing a statue which preserves his legacy. Think about what this says about Ozymandias, as a person? Does he really have as much power and authority as he thinks?
  • Question 3

Let's look at how the themes of pride and transience link.

 

In the table below, tick the box if you think the quote shows either theme. If the quote shows both themes, then tick under both themes.

 

Hint: think about pride as a negative trait! 

 

Double hint: think about the symbolic pride present in the size/vastness of the statue.

CORRECT ANSWER
 PrideTransience (time passing)
"My name is Ozymandias King of Kings"
"Nothing beside remains. Round the decay"
"Of that colossal wreck"
"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone"
"...and sneer of cold command"
EDDIE SAYS
This is quite a tricky table, so don't be disheartened if you got a few answers muddled up. If you didn't, well done! Pride and transience link together as the more Ozymandias displays pride/arrogance, the more that his pride/arrogance is undermined by the passing of time. Think about other themes that link these two themes together, for example irony. The themes of transience and pride contrast one another, which relates to the theme of irony. If you think about transience as being a consequence of pride, it becomes much easier to identify key quotes and analyse them. As long as you have the correct justification you'll do well!
  • Question 4

Looking at the theme/motif of power.

 

What quote best shows the portrayal of power?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command"
EDDIE SAYS
In picking out the presentation of certain themes, we have to make sure we can infer the meaning behind the quote and how it presents core themes or ideas. Shelley uses the technique of adjectives really effectively- this helps to emphasise the power exerted by Ozymandias. Think about how the adjectives "wrinkled" and "cold" help you to visualise the face of the statue. It almost still has power over us, perhaps making us feel scared or anxious.
  • Question 5

Looking at the theme/motif of grandness

 

How does Shelley use this theme to make his poem more interesting to read?

 

Tick the most detailed answer.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Shelley uses the theme of grandness as a way to portray irony- Ozymandias' statue is very grand, however, it is also now ruined and isolated
EDDIE SAYS
Shelley uses the theme of grandness in a very interesting way. On surface-level, it seems as if the statue is extremely large, and therefore very influential. However, if we further analyse, we can see that Ozymandias is being mocked for assuming his grandness and legacy will last- sure, the statue was once grand, however it is now broken and secluded. Remember, irony is a great theme to remember, as it often ties up different ideas. If you want to challenge yourself, think about a theme that contrasts well with grandness. How do the two work together to contrast with each other and produce irony? Here's some contrasting ideas to get you started: Grandness vs. transience Grandness vs. nature
  • Question 6

Let's have a look at this quote:

 

"Tell that its sculptor well those passions read"

 

Write down one theme which you think this quote expresses.

 

Pick one out of:

 

- Love

- Art and culture

- Nature

- Culture

- Sand

- Time

- Decay

CORRECT ANSWER
Art and culture
Nature
Time
Transcience
EDDIE SAYS
There are a few themes that you could relate to this quote, as long as you justify them properly. Looking at art/culture Shelley highlights the importance of art, in creating a legacy. In this quote, the sculptor is being praised by the traveller, which represents the idea of art and culture being praised because it depicts stories. Art/culture allows us to continue legacies! What do you think Shelley is trying to say about Ozymandias? Is it Ozymandias' power which makes his legacy last or the sculptor's hard work?
  • Question 7

Which quote best shows the theme/motif of transience?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"I met a traveller from an antique land"
EDDIE SAYS
This is quite a tricky question, as we have two themes that can easily be confused- the theme of time, and the theme of transience. In this context, we are referring to transience- the idea that time is short and things will soon come to an end. The adjective "antique" is what really leads us to the correct answer. Ozymandias is from an "antique" land. It is primitive and no longer relevant in the modern world. The theme of time, in this poem, can be analysed as the slow passing of time which then links to the idea that Ozymandias' statue has survived this. So if you were confused with the quotes "which yet survive..." or "the lone and level sands stretch far away", don't worry! These relate to the slow passing of time, rather than the shortness of time.
  • Question 8

Let's link how art, culture and power are connected.

 

In the table below, tick the box if you think the quote shows either theme. If the quote shows both themes, then tick under both themes.

 

Hint: think about who Shelley credits for Ozymandias' legacy- the sculptor or Ozymandias?

CORRECT ANSWER
 Art and culturePower
"...its sculptor well those passions read"
"...stamped on these lifeless things"
"Which yet survive"
"And sneer of cold command"
EDDIE SAYS
The themes of art/culture and power relate together really well. Often, it's hard to distinguish differences between the two- is it the sculpture who's preserved Ozymandias?
  • Question 9

Looking at the theme/motif of nature.

 

 

Pick the answer that you think best shows how Shelley develops this theme in the poem. There are two correct answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
Shelley presents nature as an opponent to Ozymandias' power- the greater the power Ozymandias exerts, the more nature "fights" back
Shelley depicts nature as a growing power. By the end, nature seems to have overpowered Ozymandias
EDDIE SAYS
Nature seems to be in competition with Ozymandias. Whenever Ozymandias states his authority, nature seems to diminish him further. Think specifically about the last line- "the lone and level sands stretch far away". Don't you think nature is depicted as very powerful, almost silencing Ozymandias (finally!)?
  • Question 10

Last question! An easier one, for all your hard work.

 

 

Which two themes, out of the five listed, are the most obvious in the poem?

CORRECT ANSWER
Power
Time
EDDIE SAYS
Power and time are two of the most significant themes in the poem! I would say the idea of power runs as a motif in the entire poem- we see the damaging effects of power, as well as different objects and themes holding power. This provides the question of who really has the overall power? What is Shelley really trying to tell us? Time is also a major theme. The language devices used emphasise how time is passing slowly, which is especially ironic as nothing has changed- Ozymandias is the same as he once was, eras ago. Remember, if you believe another theme is more dominant, that's no problem, however, ALWAYS justify and support with quotes.
---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started
laptop

Start your £1 trial today.
Subscribe from £10/month.