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Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias” is a unique sonnet. The poem is about the futility of human achievements. It mocks at human pride in power and pelf. Its rhyme scheme and diction have been well matched with its theme. The hard reality about human power and pride has been indicated by the use of an unusual, intricate rhyme scheme and hard-sounding words. 

This sonnet does not have any usual rhyme scheme. Its rhyme scheme is: ababa cdc ede fef. It is neither a Petrarchan nor Spenserian thyme scheme. It is not a Shakespearean rhyme scheme as well. It seems that the poet has intentionally used a complex rhyme scheme to match the hard reality about power and its futility. The smooth going Petrarchan or Shakespearean rhyme scheme would have not matched the. high-sounding boast of a power-blinded monarch and the terrible horror hidden in the pride of power. 

The diction of this sonnet has also been chosen to suit its subject. . It lacks the lyrical ease natural to Shelley. It does not have the felicity of diction and easeful movements of the verses. Instead, there are hard sounding words, which slow down the movement and at times, create halting effect. For example, “trunkless”, “shattered”, “sculptor”, “Pedestal”, “Ozymandias” and the like, are hard-sounding words which hinder the smooth running of the verse lines. These words are carefully chosen to reflect the ups and downs of an autocratic ruler. 

The rhyme scheme and diction of “Ozymandias” are, therefore, in harmony with the theme of the poem. Its complex rhyming pattern imitates the tortuous truth about human power. Similarly, the words producing harst sounds in it also indicate the harsh reality about human pride. 


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