Essay Example on Life: Contrasting Perspectives in An Arundel Tomb & Ozymandias

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1410 Words
Date:  2023-02-11

"An Arundel Tomb" and "Ozymandias describe a diverging idea about life since the authors of these poems are based on different genres. "An Arundel Tomb" is by a poet known as Philip Larkin and is considered firmly falling into the modernist poetry according to other previous pieces of work and the plain style in modern times (Andrew, 2019). "Ozymandias" is by Percy Bysshe Shelley who is a romantic poet. "An Arundel Tomb is a love poem and its main focus is on the 14th-century tomb of a noble couple. "Ozymandias" is a romantic poem describing the social and political changes. The essay will describe human life as seen in "Ozymandias" which revolves around the tyranny of time where no one can overcome it and the description in "an Arundel tomb" about human life dependent on love and attitudes towards love.

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"An Arundel tomb" describes human life as full of lies. In the first stanza, it is evident that the couple is lying about their identities which appear to be blurred. It is to suggest that there is a lack of clarity in the life that the couple lived. The poem goes "side by side, their faces blurred", "and that faint hint of the absurd" (Andrew, 2019). It is to show the idea of human life in that after their death, there are no identities left and the only symbol of faithfulness and loyalty as for this couple was the small dogs.

In "Ozymandias", the first lines show how the author imagines meeting the traveller who goes ahead to describe the ruined statue that she saw somewhere in a desert. The poem states "I met a traveller from an antique land, who said: two vast and trunk-less legs of stone stand in the desert" (Andrew, 2019). The poem gives a description of the statue to show the meditation of human power and how time has been an impact on the past. The poem shows that human life is affected by time and some things survive even with the effects of time.

The mention of a traveller in the poem is to make a promise to the readers about the story. The beginning of the story of meeting the traveller is about tyranny and the way time creates mockery for the boastful of even the kings who were once the most powerful people. Human life passes as time goes by and they only remain a statue of themselves and all their human power is gone which is quite unfortunate.

The second stanza of "an Arundel tomb" tries to gesture to the readers about the attitude of love from the noble man to the second wife. It could be possible that he was so fond of this second wife that he even asked for her hand in marriage as well as in death. The poem states "one sees, with sharp tender shock, His hand withdrawn, holding her hand" (Andrew, 2019). The author's approach to love as it is to humans is full of doubt and there is a show of scepticism. Talking about the sharp tender shock, it is now the moment of realization about the human life of the noble man.

The following part of the poem "Ozymandias" shows a condensed and vigorous account of the things that the traveller saw apart from the trunk-less legs that were standing in the desert. The other things that he saw included a visage that was shattered, a pedestal which had a boastful inscription. The poem states, "near them, on the sand, half sunk a shattered visage lies, and on the pedestal, these words appear "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings, look on my works, ye mighty and despair" (Andrew, 2019). The words inscribed on the pedestal are in total contrast with the surrounding. King Ozymandias wants people to look upon his works and despair of emulating them yet it is all in the desert where there is absolutely nothing to be admired by anyone. It is as an impact of time that the works of humans have been reduced to a desert and there is nothing they can do about it because they are long gone.

The third stanza of "an Arundel tomb" suggests that there are lies creeping in because of the ambiguity created. The poem goes "they would not think to lie so long, such faithfulness is effigy" (Andrew, 2019). The fact that they were holding hands seemed a ploy to impress their admirers as well as friends as it was back in the 14th century. There is no show of true love because back then, the notion of romance as well as marriage was known to be an obligation under the contract. It was also a business whose basis was on good blood. It was such that the aristocrats would marry their fellow aristocrats and thus not based on true love. This stanza shows the evolvement of human life to the routes of love which they try to show in deceit as they do not exist, not especially because this noble man had a second wife.

One sees nothing when they look at the area with the words. The inscription wants the viewers to check out for the architectural marvels which were promised by the inscription. However, there are the lone and level sands which are stretching further away. The poem describes that "nothing beside remains" showing that there is nothing to look on the works of the proclaimed kings because there is no human life of him and time has had all things blown away and only the statue stands (Andrew, 2019). Human life according to Shelley is affected by time and death of a person means that what they put up will be wiped with time.

The fourth stanza starts with "they would not guess how early in, the air would change to soundless damage, Turn the old tenantry away" and it shows that time has passed and the weathering of the stone started to take effect as they waned the interests of the local residents (Andrew, 2019). The identities of the married couple started to crumble. There was no full influence of the successive visitors who were supposed to notice it because they were no longer keen enough to read the inscriptions written in Latin and would only go for a superficial look as they were not interested in the lives of the people any longer. Human life according to Philip was initially not based on love but they try to prove the same which is not a reality.

The poem on "Ozymandias" lastly states that "round the decay, of the colossal wreck, the boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away" showing that there was nothing left by the boastful king to marvel by any traveller (Andrew, 2019). The works which were supposed to be the despair for other kings after him had disappeared: even the statue of him was reduced to two legs, a face that is shattered and a pedestal. Time had affected human life and its environment that had been created.

The fifth, sixth and seventh stanza of "an Arundel tomb" describes that there is no permanence of love because it is false news and the rest is all fake gesture (Andrew, 2019). It is the pretence of truth. The poem builds up to the conclusion that the couple's tomb was not based on love as it was shown in their statues. There was no love at that very moment which they seem to display on their tomb. The speaker also shows their attitude towards this gesture of love in that it is supposed to be genuine. The viewers of the tomb are made to believe that this nobleman truly loved his wife but the speaker does not fully commit to it because it is not the case.

Human life according to Philip Larkin in the "An Arundel Tomb" is that it is based on the outward appearance of love while in reality; it is based on other areas. Shelly in "Ozymandias", shows that human life deteriorates with time just like that of the famous king and everything they had put up. There is nothing permanent that has been made and supposed to stay because it gets worn out with time.


Andrew Spacey (2019). Analysis of the Poem "An Arundel Tomb" By Philip Larkin. Owlcation. Retrieved from

Andrew Spacey (2019). Analysis of Poem "Ozymandias" By Percy Bysshe Shelley Owlcation Retrieved from

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Essay Example on Life: Contrasting Perspectives in An Arundel Tomb & Ozymandias. (2023, Feb 11). Retrieved from

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