A Comparison of London and Ozymandias

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A Comparison of London and Ozymandias

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A theme of Mortality lives in both poems. In “London” Blake talksabout the death and suffering of people, and in “Ozymandias” Shelleytalks about the death of a civilisation.

A sense of someone dominating, someone with greater power occurs inboth poems. In “London” the rich have this upper hand against thepoor, in “Ozymandias” this great leader is said to have this strengthover his enemies and his own people.

In “Ozymandias” Shelley writes about a fallen empire, a civilisationthat must have gone down hill because now there is no sign of it. In”London” Blake tells us that the poorer people of this city are goingthrough a bad time, their empire has fallen like Ozymandias’s empire,but in this case London has not collapsed. Blake writes about howLondon had drifted to a time of poverty and disease.


The two poems, both give a feeling of depression and melancholy to thereader. Shelley uses different words to create this effect, whileBlake writes how everyone is sad and weak.

Great arrogance is shown in both poems. In “Ozymandias” the king showsthat he is arrogant, he describes himself on the pedestal, he talksabout how great and powerful ruler he is. In “London” the arrogance ofthe church compares to this.

In “London” the rich betray the poor, because they have put their nameon everything. In “Ozymandias” the sculptor betrays the king when thestatue is being made.


Both poems have phonological techniques like alliteration, rhyme andonomatopoeia. They are both concisely written and although short inlength are packed with layers of meaning and content.

Strong modifiers are used throughout both poems, which createstension. Good adjectives also help with imagery give a clear mentalpicture; for example when Ozymandias’s face is described, with itssneer and frown.



In “Ozymandias” Shelley writes about an ancient civilisation. The poemis written in past tense. Blake writes about the London he iswitnessing; “London” is written in the present tense.

An obvious difference is that Blake writes about a civilisation, whichis in existence while Shelley writes about a civilisation that hasbeen disintegrated.

The strength of authority is maintained in “London” while in”Ozymandias” it has dissipated.


“Ozymandias” fills you with mystery about where the traveller came


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