Ozymandias Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Percy Shelley's poem 'Ozymandias' is representative of the ideas of British Romanticism. In this lesson plan, students will learn how to interpret 'Ozymandias' by watching an informative video lesson while practicing a close reading strategy before writing their own version of Shelley's poem.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • interpret the poem ''Ozymandias'' by Percy Shelley.
  • explain how ''Ozymandias'' reflects British Romanticism.
  • perform a close reading of a Romantic poem.


Approximately 60 minutes plus additional time for the Activity

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).


  • Copies of Percy Shelley's poem ''Ozymandias'' cut into strips.
    • Print out the poem with the font and spacing adjusted to allow for room for students to write in the margins and between every two lines.
    • Then cut it into strips containing two lines each, for a total of seven strips.


  • Group students in pairs or teams of three and distribute the first strip - the first two lines of the poem.
  • First read the lines out loud, twice. Then annotate the text to model close reading, talking through each observation you make about diction, devices, rhyme, meter, structure, and connections to Romanticism.
  • Explain that a close reading is a good way to arrive at an overall interpretation of a piece of literature.
  • Distribute the next two lines. This time students should work on their own after reading them aloud, twice. Roam the room to offer help.
  • Continue giving out lines when the teams finish their annotations until all the slips have been distributed.
  • When the class has finished the poem, lead a class discussion on the meaning of ''Ozymandias'' based on their close readings.
  • Now play Percy Shelley's Ozymandias: Analysis and Themes. Stop the video after the each line/set of lines has been dissected to allow students to react to the speaker's interpretation. They should also compare the speaker's ideas to the ideas you and they presented in the model close reading.
  • Use the lesson quiz to determine if students understand the material on ''Ozymandias'' presented in the video.

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