Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley: Enchantment of the Reader

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In the pieces of literature “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley and “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, the reader gets a peak of an outside speaker as the poem and story begin. As the reader can tell, there are multiple speakers in both pieces of literature. In Ozymandias, the reader is being introduced by an outside narrator who indicates the characteristics of the statue of a once glorious ruler named Ozymandias, similar to Frankenstein, the reader is also being introduced into the story, beginning with a man named Robert Walton who is writing a letter to his sister. Both of these pieces show a significant amount of obsessive characterization that the characters Victor and Ozymandias had at one point in the text. In both of these texts the desire of leaving a mark on the world, the pursuit of glory, and overall praise is all that theses characters were after. The speaker that utilizes which important facts are most interesting and those which have more significance to be presented to the reader-is the main speaker. To grasp the reader's attention, an author must be aware of the type of characterization he or she wants to convey in the works. This allows the reader to have an insight on what the speaker is trying to emphasize.

In the poem “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley a traveler examines and discusses the findings that he has come across in the desert. How does this alter the reader's emotions and attitude towards the text? It allows the reader to be intrigued in the works of the author, it allows them to understand the meaning behind the works. The poem states: The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal, these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay/ Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. In this speech the narrator is emphasizing Ozymandias characteristics with imagery and his vibrant choice of words. The reader is able to characterize Ozymandias as an individual who is striving for power and control. The diction that Shelley uses to characterize Ozymandias is not necessarily the diction that an author would use for a glorious and fair ruler. Notice the words in poem “Hand that mocked”, “king of kings”,” Mighty and Despair” these are powerful words that would best fit a cold and unsatisfied character. So what is Shelley trying to emphasize? Well, as the reader continues to analyze the poem, lines 12-14 will send out a better clarification of the overall message. The poem reads “ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay/ Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/ The lone and level sands stretch far away.” with this being a romantic poem the reader is able to acknowledge the importance and power of nature vs man. The mighty empire of Ozymandias will decay over the years and nature will always overcome man. Everything that was once mighty and ruled by man will end up falling and nature will take over. In the novel “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley the character that is most obsessive is Victor Frankenstein. Throughout the novel Mary Shelley indicates the reader that Frankenstein has the characteristics of a brilliant, obsessive, and an ambitious character. Victor Frankenstein was influenced and driven by science, he wanted to achieve the greatest power of all-the creation of life.

As Victor progresses in his works he soon comes to realize that all he thought was magnificent is now a curse. The novel says “I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress with curiosity and delight… the dazzling light vanished the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump” (Shelley, page 26). This quote can be seen as a metaphor for Victor. He starts out very curious and all of a sudden he's automatically drawn is into this divine light and electricity that he believes could come of good in his life, but just like that oak tree nothing remains good at the end of Victors mighty task. Once again the author uses the characterization of Victor to conclude an overall message. No matter how much man wants to challenge nature or in this case also play god, mans effort always tend to fail at the end. Victor says:I knelt on the grass and kissed the earth, and with quivering lips exclaimed, 'By the sacred earth on which I kneel, by the shades that claimed, I wander near me, by the deep and eternal grief that I feel, I swear; and by thee, O Night, and the spirits that preside over thee, to pursue the daemon who caused this misery until he or I shall perish in mortal conflict. This is an important quote that displays victors surrender to nature. At this point in the novel Victor has come to an end, all that he believed and cared about is gone. His ambitious character and challenge to nature and made him miserable. Once again nature has shown its victory.

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