2: "The Colossus of Rhodes," engraving by Maarten van Heemskerck, 16th century.
The Colossus of Rhodes was a giant statue of the Greek sun god Helios. Constructed to celebrate a military victory, the statue was probably over 100 feet high—the approximate height of the Statue of Liberty. An earthquake in 226 BC destroyed the statue 54 years after it was completed.
Suggested Activity: Ask students to look at this image of the Colossus of Rhodes. How is it similar to the Statue of Liberty? How is it different? Think about what work the title of Lazarus’s poem is doing. What does it add to students' interpretation of the poem? How does it connect Lazarus’s present (and ours) with the ancient past? Have students brainstorm a list of other possible titles for the poem and “try them on” to see how they change its meaning and tone.
Source: Galle, Phillips, after Maarten van Heemskerck. Colossus of Rhodes. 1572. Engraving.