“Ozymandias” is about the remnants of a statue left somewhere in the desert. There is not much left from is, except for two legs and a shattered face that lies in the sand. The immense statue used to belong to some important king, whose sculptor captured his proud look and the ability to command in the though looking appearance of his face. Still, the idea is that, while the inscription still appears on the pedestal, naming Ozymandias “king of kings,” there is not much left from his monument and the only thing that seems to be truly lasting is the enormous desert that surrounds the broken relic.
What is ironic about Shelley's poem "Ozymandias"?
It’s ironic that the inscription on the pedestal says that one should “look on my works and despair,” when really, the legs and the broken face are nothing to despair about but rather something to feel sorry for. One must find it ironic that men always want to be immortals, they want their greatness to survive but the reality is that time is always the winner.