In British Romantic literature, “Ozymandias” has been part of some controversy since its inception in 1818.
Believed to be a de casibus poem about the falls of despots, also about the inevitable fall of the most famous literary celebrity of the nineteenth century, the “illustrious” Lord Byron.
Even David had referred to his father as the illustrious Sir Peter Weyland whom he struggles to acquire approval and is constantly working in his shadow.
Shelly’s poem endows the megalomaniac Pharaoh Ozymandias with a “frown, / And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,” making him in the image of “Byron.”
David has of course been created in his father’s image, but doesn’t have the restrictions that held Weyland back like humanity, a soul, need for sleep or vulnerability to illness. Which stands to reason why David’s creation would also represent in himself, a survivor, unclouded by judgement or delusions of morality.
Poetically decapitating “Byron’s” head and placing it among a desert, Shelley prophesies the day when “the great Poet” who “awoke one morning and found himself famous” would no longer take “pride of place” in the Pantheon of poets.
David’s decapitation by the last engineer was a literal visualisation of mankind’s prophecised downfall, with Elizabeth Shaw a stranger from an antique land left to observe the destruction and wasteland of Paradise with David.
Dwarfed by the monolithic literary celebrity status of Lord Byron, Shelley appealed for vindication to Time. And in “Ozymandias” Time is the guillotine on which the literary monarch of the early nineteenth century finally loses his crown.
David has appealed to Weyland Yutani through the Advent Transmission, using his research to vindicate himself. And with this research it will bring an end to his Hellish reign, but will Weyland Yutani get to him in time?
The decapitated head of Ozymandias “uncannily anticipates the guillotined bodies of the French Revolution” – Young, Robert. 1991. Poems That Read Themselves.
The design of the Nostromo and Covenant crew patches are based on the buttons of 18th Century French Revolution uniforms, and the crew landing party costumes were also.
Shelley draws parallels between his work being like that of the Pharaoh’s sculptor and Byron being Ozymandias. In Time he couldn’t imagine the sculptor surpassing the Pharaoh’s fame, yet Time has vindicated Percy Shelley, who no longer plays second fiddle to Lord Byron.
And in time we know David’s creations will outlive and outlast anything that comes in contact with them, the only thing destroying them is razing the colonies established by Weyland Yutani to the ground.
The true identity of “Glirastes” the Pharaoh’s sculptor, is not quite “a household name” in the 21st century.
As much as everyone credits Ridley Scott for Alien, others such as Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett as well as Ron Cobb, Moebius, H.R.Giger and Carlo Rambaldi have given a great amount of contribution to the monolithic A L I E N.
And you may be familiar with the argument which relegated David Giler and Walter Hill to just producers and never being credited for their rewrites of the story.
I have heard it was in the contractual agreement that two characters in the prequels be named after David and Walter, at last the Byron Shelly argument has come to an end.
Dan O’Bannon may be the creator of Alien but David is now the creator of the Xenomorph, or is he? The Xenomorph design predates Alien, just as the Xenomorph mural predates David’s creation of it.
Optical perceptors stopped and identified Michelangelo’s statue of David, fashioned from Carrara marble. It-he could see the slight rises and indentations made by the cold chisel. A copy, perhaps, but one infused with real creativity. Not necessarily a contradiction. He walked over to it. “David,” he said. By Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. Finished and installed summer, 1504. “We are David.” It-he held out a hand and made contact with the stone. It was cool, dry, unyielding. Not human, yet so very human. “Beautiful and cold.” “Perfect in every way,” Weyland concurred. “David,” he murmured. Voiced aloud in the beautiful, expensive, sterile room, he found the sound of his own name satisfying. It would do. He turned back to the watching Weyland. A meshing of neurons generated curiosity. “Why have you created me?” – Alien: Covenant Novelisation