The Frog and the Nightingale

by Vikram Seth

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Describe the characters of the frog and the nightingale in Vikram Seth's poem.

Quick answer:

The frog and nightingale are shown as quite different from each other—the frog boastful and proud despite his lack of talent, and the nightingale shy and unconfident, even though she sings beautifully.

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The frog is portrayed as a talentless, deceitful opportunist throughout the poem "The Frog and The Nightingale." Although the frog lacks the talent and support from other animals, he finds a way to criticize the nightingale's beautiful melodies. He wisely recognizes the nightingale's talent and begins to manipulate her to his advantage. The frog is depicted as an opportunist for his ability to capitalize on the nightingale's talent by charging the other animals admission fees to listen to her perform. The frog also displays his unsympathetic, malevolent personality by forcing the nightingale to exhaust herself each night. He psychologically abuses the nightingale by making her seem worthless and disregards her well-being throughout the poem.

The nightingale is portrayed as a naive, talented creature with an extraordinary ability to sing. However, she lacks self-confidence and discernment. She is easily manipulated by the frog and allows him to profit from her performances. The nightingale's timid disposition is also evident in the fact that she continues to overexert herself each night. Unfortunately, the nightingale dies of exhaustion after being manipulated by the frog.

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In the poem The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth, the character of the frog is portrayed as diametrically opposite to that of the nightingale. The frog is shown to be irritating, proud and disdainful. As we see, he is boastful of a talent he doesn’t possess. He sings loudly in a coarse, harsh voice that disturbs everyone. Everyone in the jungle hates him. But all this doesn’t affect him. The frog also feels jealous of nightingale’s popularity. He is also very cruel and greedy as he forces the poor nightingale to sing day and night without taking rest in order to make more money. In this way, he is not a likeable character.

On the other hand, the nightingale is unconfident, timid and shy. But she has a beautiful, melodious voice that makes her very likeable. When she sings for the first time, she impresses everyone instantaneously. Visitors from far off places come to listen to her voice. But she is not proud of all this at all. In fact, she lacks confidence and faith in herself. Not only is she unaware of her own talent, she makes a big mistake by believing strongly in the frog’s judgment of her song. Of course, one should accept criticism positively and try to improve, but not without a careful self-reflection. She bursts her vain in the end and dies. In this way, she can be called as a gullible, tragic character. 

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