As mentioned in Shelley’s poem Ozymandias, what does the inscription on the pedestal of Ozymandias’s statue mean or imply?
As stated in the poem the words that appear on the pedestal of the statue is:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
By these words, Ozymandias declares himself as “king of kings” and warns other kings who think themselves as “mighty” to look at his works to get their illusions shattered. They should never hope to cross Ozymandias’s achievements.
These words indicate how bold and proud and commanding Ozymandias was. But the poet here uses these words to highlight the transitory nature of things on the earth. Even the statue of the ‘king of kings’ is decayed over a period of time. So, however mighty one might be, one should be aware of the decaying power of time and should not boast or look to compete with Ozymandias as everything will be destroyed sooner or later.
[You should read our original explanation of the poem for a better analysis.]
Ozymandias is not gloating that he is the best, ever. His lesson is that the greatest works, even by the King of Kings, all become dust (in the inexorable march of time). I have a clock, made from the “skeleton” of the world’s first 5.25″ hard disk drive. This HDD cost $1,500 in 1980 (=$5,000+- in 2021). It is today a near worthless relic; I named it “Ozymandias”.