What is the theme of 'The Frog And The Nightingale'?  

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a couple of themes that can be taken from Seth's poem.  I think that the first one lies in how there are individuals who benefit from another's downfall.  In this light, the poem speaks to how individuals have to be vigilant of the motivation of others. The self- interest of others is a theme in the poem. The nightingale never conceives of the fact that the frog might just not have her interests at heart.  She does not contemplate that the frog might benefit from her excessive "training."  She doesn't see this and because of her myopia, she ends up dying.  The poem speaks to the fact that there are individuals who benefit from others' downfall and one has to be mindful of this.  Another theme that comes out of the poem is that the creation of art is a complex reality.  The poem articulates asks the question of why the artist creates their art.  Do they do so because they wish to remain important or relevant, as in the case of the frog?  Do they do so because they need the appreciation of others', as in the case of the nightingale?  Certainly, there has to be a clear analysis as to why the artist does what they do and in this, the poem raises some complex questions in its theme regarding the creation of art.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to the themes of self-interest and motivation behind art, Seth also explores the concepts of identity, vanity, and self-gratification. Both the nightingale and the frog are recognized by their unique songs. However, the creatures of the forest prefer to listen to the beautiful song of the nightingale over the frog's deep croak. The frog and the nightingale both take pride in their music and embrace their identity. However, the frog takes exception to the nightingale's song and manipulates the bird into ruining her voice. Vanity and self-gratification influence the nightingale to continually sing in order to receive more money and louder applause. The frog wishes to be heard once again, which is why he manipulates the nightingale. Unfortunately, the nightingale does not recognize that the frog does not have her best interests in mind.