Will there ever be a winner in the pursuit of power? Featuring the Godfather and a Pharaoh!

Alex Aristidou
3 min readSep 27, 2023

Michael Corleone, the Godfather, was undoubtedly a man of power, a man who worked all his life chasing glory and strength. In doing so he pulled many strings including murdering his own brother. In chasing power, he sacrificed his family and he lost sight of what else matters in life. Francis Coppola provided an ending (two actually!) to Michael Corleone’s life that left many questioning. He is portrayed alone, sitting in a chair in his courtyard. Michael seems to recall moments of his life with a sentimental approach, rethinking his decisions and where those decisions led him. The scene ends with Michael in isolation, overfilled with sadness and regret. Above all the scene pictures the emptiness and unfulfilled life one man can live by chasing power.

When being alone, what is even the purpose of power?

Here you can watch the ending of the movie “The Godfather Part III”.

Ozymandias was the Greek name given to Ramesses II, an Egyptian Pharaoh, who led ancient Egypt in one of its most potent eras and is thus considered one of the most powerful pharaohs that existed.

Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote the sonnet Ozymandias to reflect the temporary state of power and to portray the inevitable failure of attempting to achieve long-lasting power. In the sonnet, a traveller on a journey stumbles upon the statue of an old king by the name of Ozymandias. His statue is in ruins, with only the legs remaining on the pedestal, which reads…

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

The traveller is faced with the irony of a powerful king and the reality of ruins, in the middle of nowhere. This should make us all wonder and think about the inevitable limit of power and that nothing lasts forever, not even greatness. What is also fascinating to think though, is the need for Ozymandias for future generations to look at and admire him. To self-identify as the king of kings and to be addicted to this sense of greatness. Irrespective of what he has achieved, of how many people admired and looked up to him, he is never fulfilled. He wants more and more, the chase of power is an endless ride, where fulfilment is never achieved.

The statue of Ozymandias (image from source)

Years and years have passed and many have written, directed, sung and thought about power and its inevitable destiny. It just makes me wonder, what is there still, after so many generations, what drives us, humans, to power? One look into the news and the need for power is evident. Maybe it has changed forms and maybe not, but the chase for power is still going on. Will there ever be a winner?

Some time ago, I asked a friend about his favourite poem. We then spent a reasonable amount of time talking about Ozymandias. Thank you, Giacomo!

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