This is not a poem of things, or words. It is a poem about humanity and the failure of greed. Life is not a 'thing' to be tagged as wretched. It is a beautiful process that can be enhanced and uplifted or destroyed. If we base our success on self gratification and power hungry greed, then we doom ourselves and all involved.
Time brings all luxuries of life - based on uplifting life, to a long and enduring existence. Death can only stop 'a' life. Ideas that are based on uplifting 'lives' grow on and become greater. Oxymandias fell because all he had was his tyranny.
Consider the difference between Hitler and Ghandi. One had an 'Empire' and one had a 'purpose.' Ghandi has a legacy in history we all continue to grow from, even though he is dead. The other one can only offer what we need to avoid. Even though he had an empire, Hitler leaves us with only a bad memory. One man we honor and continue to learn from, the other we sneer and hiss at its evil memory. One stays alive, the other stays dead.
Shelly teaches us far more than a simplistic lesson of what dies or decays. The fact that we know who Shelly was, and would know absolutely nothing of who Ozymandias was, had he not written that poem, screams his point clearly (Report) Reply