The Frog and the Nightingale

by Vikram Seth

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What is the conversation between the frog and the nightingale?

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I think that one of Seth's main points in the poem is the difficulty in forming relationships.  This complexity and intricacy makes it perfect for a discussion to emerge following the poem.  If one could suspend the fact that the nightingale is dead, I think that the most obvious starting point for any conversation would be for the nightingale to approach to frog and confront him on his behavior.  The idea here would be to drive at some type of realization that the frog's behavior was cruel.  I don't see the frog immediately falling on his sword (or lilly pad) to admit that what he did was wrong.  Rather, I would see him attempting to explain that he was quite happy and content in what he was doing to maintain his own sense of control over the "music market" in the bog.  I think that he would talk about how it was nothing personal or there as little direct evidence of malicious intent.  He simply wanted to make sure that his own control of life in the bog was not challenged by the nightingale.  Naturally, a follow up point to this would rest with the nightingale bringing out how that there is little difference between unintentional and intentional cruelty.  The result is the same.  I think that this might form the basis of an interesting post- poem conversation between both characters.

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