What is the moral of the poem "The Frog and the Nightingale" by Vikram Seth?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The moral of the poem "The Frog and the Nightingale" by Vikram Seth is that one should not be persuaded by flattery to be something one is not. When the nightingale first shows up in the bog, she has a beautiful voice. When she sings to "the whole admiring bog," they are rapt with admiration and attention. The nightingale sings longer than she should: "So the nightingale once more, / Quite unused to such applause, / Sang till dawn without a pause." 

The frog rightly senses that the nightingale can be manipulated by her vanity and need for an audience. He convinces her to sing much longer than she should. She sings before "a breathless, titled crowd," an audience composed of noble birds, and she sings far too long. She continues in this way, as "her ears were now addicted / To applause quite unrestricted." Her need for attention causes her to exhaust herself so much that she dies. In the end, the frog says that the nightingale  was "far too prone to influence." The moral is to accept what is special about oneself without trying to be something different or greater just to win admiration from others. 

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The Frog and the Nightingale

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