"Ozymandias" Theme Connection

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Ozymandias

Connecting with the Theme of "Ozymandias": The Bamiyan Buddhas


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Activity Overview

Sometimes, it is difficult for students to connect with themes in poetry until they put them into a real-world context. Consider the following activity for students to storyboard with "Ozymandias".

Ozymandias’ statue once stood in the pinnacle of civilization and human progress, ancient Egypt. The statue was carved as a tribute to Ramses II, a powerful leader who probably thought that his civilization would always be the most powerful. Have students do research on significant man-made landmarks and structures in the world. Have them choose the one(s) they like best, and do some research on why those structures were built. Were they a tribute? A religious piece? A sacred burial place for the dead? A sign of power? A structure of military defense? Have them look for pictures of the structure through the search bar in the Storyboard Creator and put them into a storyboard with a description of the reason for its origin and any interesting facts about it.

The Buddhas of Bamiyan

  • The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two large statues of Buddha carved into the side of a cliff in Afghanistan. Their origins are thought to be in the early-mid 6th century.

  • One Buddha is smaller than the other. The larger Buddha was over 180 feet tall, and the smaller Buddha measured over 124 feet.

  • The Buddhas were carved into the cliff at this location because it was once a Buddhist hub of activity. Buddhist monks used this site as a place to study, meditate, and worship. The statues were erected as a tribute to the power of Buddha, and there were many caves which the monks lived in, carved into the cliffside.

  • There were many attempts to destroy the Buddhas over the centuries, and thankfully, most were unsuccessful. One Afghan king was successful in destroying the larger statue’s face.

  • In 2001, the Taliban successfully destroyed the statues by blowing them up. The Taliban viewed the statues as idolatry, and decided that they went against the tenets of their interpretation of Islam. Behind the statues, great caverns filled with beautiful carvings were discovered.

  • In 2011, despite the fact that the statues can apparently be repaired, UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) announced that it would not repair the Buddhas. They cite cost and lack of original materials for use in reconstruction in their decision. This great and powerful religious landmark now only exists in history books and pictures.

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