What is the theme of "The Nightingale and the Rose"?

The main theme of "The Nightingale and the Rose" is that love often involves sacrifices. The nightingale in the story illustrates this theme by sacrificing her life in order that the student may have a red rose to give to his beloved.

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As most of us realize at some point in our lives, love isn't all wine and roses. In "The Nightingale and the Rose ," the hapless, lovelorn student finds that out to his cost. He's deeply in love with a shallow young lady who doesn't feel the same way...

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As most of us realize at some point in our lives, love isn't all wine and roses. In "The Nightingale and the Rose," the hapless, lovelorn student finds that out to his cost. He's deeply in love with a shallow young lady who doesn't feel the same way about him as he feels about her. Unrequited love is always the worst kind of love, the most painful kind, one that has inspired countless songs, laments, and poems down the centuries.

And yet if it's painful for the student, love is fatal for the poor little nightingale who tries to help him out. As the true romantic she is, she puts love above everything else. It is by far the most important thing of all, as she sees it—so important, in fact, that one must be prepared to sacrifice one's life for it.

And that's precisely what the nightingale does, dying a painful death by impaling herself on a white rose thorn while singing sweetly all night. By the following morning, the nightingale is dead, but the white rose has now turned red with the nightingale's blood. The little bird has made the ultimate sacrifice for love. Now, the student has a red rose he can give to his beloved. It's just a shame she doesn't want it, though; or him, for that matter. Sacrifices are often in vain, and this is just another example.

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