"Ozymandias" TPCASTT Analysis

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TPCASTT in "Ozymandias"

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Activity Overview


Poetry is one of the most expressive forms of literature. It can evoke emotions, set a mood, tell a story, or create a deeply and universally understood feeling in its readers. This makes expounding its elements, and understanding its rich meaning, comparisons, and symbols, even more important.

The TP-CASTT method of poetry analysis is a great way to teach students to dissect a poem and understand its parts. It helps students to uncover the deeper meanings within poems while giving them the confidence to be self-educators. TP-CASTT Poetry Analysis is an order of operations similar to PEMDAS for math. It asks students to list items in sequential order and answer questions based on their reading of the poem.


TP-CASTT Analysis
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"Ozymandias" TPCASTT

T

TITLE

“Ozymandias” sounds exotic. It could be the name of a place, or a person from a long time ago.
P

PARAPHRASE

The speaker meets a traveler who has recently seen the great statue of the powerful pharaoh Ramses II, or Ozymandias. The traveler tells the speaker that the statue is in pieces in the sand in the middle of the desert. Ozymandias used to be a great and mighty king, but there is nothing left of his empire anymore.
C

CONNOTATION

The speaker uses words such as antique, vast, shattered, cold command, despair, nothing… remains, decay, and wreck to emphasize that this once-great King’s statue now lies broken in a wasteland. Ozymandias once thought he would be remembered for his works which were so great they would last forever, but now, there is nothing left.
A

ATTITUDE/TONE

The tone seems to be ironic. After describing this shattered visage which was once sculpted with such care by its creator, the inscription on the pedestal shows that it was once a symbol of great power. Unfortunately, that power did not last for Ozymandias.
S

SHIFTS

As is true of most sonnets, there is a shift. The shift is found when the speaker moves from describing the physical aspects of the statue, which shows that it is in pieces, to the significance of the statue which is found on the pedestal. This is no longer a piece of marble in the desert; it was the statue of a great king.
T

TITLE

The title is about the King, Ozymandias, and his great statue that lies in ruins in the middle of the desert.
T

THEME

The theme of the poem is that human power and greatness is transient, and while we all hope to leave our mark on the world in some way, nothing lasts forever—not even great empires.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Perform a TPCASTT analysis of "Ozymandias". Remember that TPCASTT stands for Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude/Tone, Shift, Title, Theme.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose any combination of scenes, characters, items, and text to represent each letter of TPCASTT.
  3. Write a few sentences describing the importance or meaning of the images.
  4. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.

TPCASTT Template

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