Homework Help

With reference to the poem, construct the character of the Frog in "The Frog and the...

user profile pic

honeybunny27 | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted July 31, 2013 at 12:33 PM via web

dislike 0 like

With reference to the poem, construct the character of the Frog in "The Frog and the Nightingale." 

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 31, 2013 at 1:21 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The frog's character is shown to be one of a limited musician and even more limited creature of affection.  Essentially, in "Bindle Bog," the frog croaks away and the other animals have become accustomed to his sound and song being the only one in the bog. The frog is mediocre in his talents, but because his voice is the only one present, his skill is accepted as "talented:"  

Other creatures loathed his voice,
But, alas, they had no choice,
And the crass cacophony
Blared out from the sumac tree
At whose foot the frog each night
Minstrelled on till morning night

This changes with the presence of the nightingale, who demonstrates obvious talent.  The frog recognizes this and is immediately threatened with her presence.  Rather, than be open about his insecurities or be magnanimous, the frog is crafty and smart enough to trick the nightingale into needing a "mentor" figure for her talents:

Without/ Proper training such as I
- And few others can supply./You'll remain a mere beginner./ But with me you'll be a winner"

When she questions him as to the value of tuition for the song "is mine," the frog dismisses it in suggesting that the training he will provide will make her better than her original song.  The frog begins to "mentor" her, in which he is able to brutalize and shatter her voice. In the guise of a coach, the frog insults her and prods her to a point where she is overextended and eventually dies.

The frog's comments on the nightingale's death reflects a malice that makes his mediocre talents pale in comparison.  He inverts the characterization originally offered into one that discredits her efforts:

 "I tried to teach her,
But she was a stupid creature -
Far too nervous, far too tense.
Far too prone to influence.
Well, poor bird - she should have known
That your song must be your own.

The frog's character is shown to be manipulative.  He is able to manipulate the nightingale into essentially driving herself to death, ridding himself of a competition that he could not compete against. At the same time, the frog is able to consolidate his own power over the songs being sung in the bog.  The frog's character is extremely insightful into the weaknesses of humanity when he is able to use the desire to be a "winner" in subverting one's own song, regardless of consequence.  The frog reverting back to individual ownership of one's own song becomes one of the most stinging and detached aspects of his characterization in the poem.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes