In the short story The Nightingale and the Rose, by Oscar Wilde, one could argue that the character which inspires the most sympathy is definitely the poor bird who sacrifices its life in the name of love.
The nightingale is a symbol of the spirit of love, coming in and out of our lives when we least expect it. The student laments the fact that the professor's daughter, a vain and materialistic young woman, would not read his poetry nor care for him. To this, the nightingale responds by trying to search for the red rose that the woman requested from the poet. Since the bird finds no red roses after plenty of search, the nightingale chooses to pick a white rose and prick his own heart with its thorn so that its blood would make the white rose turn red.
Just the fact that the nightingale is willing to die in the name of love is reason enough to admire its philosophical and passionate character. However, when the student finally gets his rose, and the rose is rejected, we find the unfairness and injustice of life: The rose gets tossed away, and the death of nightingale is in vain.
Or is it? The nightingale dies in the name of love. A love in which the nightingale believes and under which it revels. Therefore, the character of the nightingale is, undoubtedly, a very lovely symbol of the self-sacrifices many people make for love.