summary of poem the frog and the nightingale
The poet, Vikram Seth, very cleverly gives us a message of the importance of self-confidence and moral courage in his poem - The 'Frog and the Nightingale'. Once in a bog, a frog sat under a Sumac tree and croaked all night in a loud and unpleasant voice. The other creatures loathed his voice but their complaints, insults and brickbats couldn't stop him from croaking stubbornly and pompously, insensitive to the disturbance he was causing.
Then, one night a nightingale appears at the bog. Her melodious voice captures the admiring attention of the creatures of the Bingle Bog. Ducks and herons swim towards the Sumac tree to hear the nightingale serenade. Some lonely creature even weeps hearing her song. When she stops, there is thunderous applause with the creatures demanding a repeat performance (encore). The jealous frog disturbed by the intrusion of a challenging rival listens to the nightingale dumbstruck.
Next night, when the modest bird prepares to sing, the plotting frog interrupts and posing as a music critic, says that the technique was fine, of course, but it lacks a certain force. Unassuming and not used to any kind of criticism, she defends herself by saying, "At least its mine".
The heartless frog convinces the nightingale that she was in need of training that only he could provide. The nightingale, lacking in confidence and extremely gullible agrees and flatters him, saying that he was Mozart in disguise. The frog capitalized on the nightingale's servile attitude and said that he would charge a modest fee, which would not harm her.
The nightingale soon became famous and the frog grew richer, earning money from her concerts. Eminent personalities like the Owl (Earl) of Sandwich and Duck (Duke) of Kent attend the concerts. The frog sat and watched with mixed feelings of happiness and bitterness. Happy because he was earning money and jealous because the bird was receiving so much attention.
Meanwhile, the frog makes the nightingale rehearse hard even when it rained and constantly criticized and abused her, ensuring that she became broken in spirit. Fired and spent, her voice lost its beauty and the creatures stopped coming to hear her sing. Morose and depressed, she refused to sing, but the frog goaded her to practice. Scared and unhappy, the nightingale tried, burst a vein, and died.
The frog, unsympathetic, dismissed her off -
A shrewd judge of character, he summed her up saying that the nightingale was too nervous and prone to influence, hence bringing her own downfall. Now, the frog once more sings at night in his bog - unrivalled