The Character of Nightingale in The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde.

 Nightingale, the Unsung Hero.

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The Nightingale is the protagonist of the story, The Nightingale and the Rose by OscarWilde. She is romantic by nature and is inspired by student’s love.  She sings about love all the time and waits to see it. When she sees the student crying for a red rose, she decides to sacrifice her life to help him out.  She gives her heart’s blood to a white flower to color its petals and fulfill the need of student and in this process she dies. The whole story revolves around her sacrifice and selfless nature which is not appreciated throughout the story.

“Here at last is a true lover,” said the Nightingale.
Nightingale sees a young student lamenting over his failure to company his beloved to the ball as he cannot find a rose in his garden; The bird believes that she has found a true lover. Although he is quite different from the idol she sings on, she believes him to be the true lover. His tears melt her heart; that shows about the sensitive nature of the bird. However, at the end of the story, readers find that all her effort to give him a rose turned into dust as he is not truly a worthy lover.

Surely love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals… It may not be purchased of the merchants, nor can it be weighed out in the balance for gold.
She believes love to be more precious than any valuable material considered in the human world. She preaches that love has no price or quantity to be purchased nor weighed. Her representation for love confirms the existence of true love in the world which is more precious than any gem. The writer through the character of the nightingale nudges the reader to behold nature to find true love which is submerged by the materialistic values in contemporary world.

“Death is a great price to pay for a red rose,” cried the Nightingale…Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?”

The Nightingale sacrifices her life for the sake of love. She thinks that it is worthy to sacrifice her life on behalf of true love. She compares her heart as less valuable to a human heart. However, at the end the reader can find that the bird has a purer and more valuable heart than the human representatives in the story. Her selfless sacrifice for the love of the young student shows that she lived and died on one principle. (for the true love: what she has been singing on) This sacrifice shows that true love does exist but at the end no one appreciates it.

So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, and her voice was like water bubbling from a silver jar.

Oak tree, her guardian understands her and request her to sing her last song to him. So, she sings to the tree in her enchanting tune. That shows her concern and gratitude towards others. The kind of courtesy shown by the little bird affirms her benevolent self by nature. Further, the simile shows the beauty of her voice inspired by her loving heart inside.

The thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song… “Look, look!” cried the Tree, “the rose is finished now;” but the Nightingale made no answer, for she was lying dead in the long grass, with the thorn in her heart.

Oscar Wilde uses his fairy-tale narration to illustrate the pain the little nightingale underwent. The intensified and repeated adjectives generate images in the reader’s mind similar to watching a movie; making the reader understand about the severe pain when the thorn pierce through the heart of the bird. This shows the power of her determination and commitment on behalf of the policy she lived on. She gave her living blood to color a symbol of love in the human world. However, her sacrifice was unknown and unsung; showing the nature of true love: which always does sacrifices expecting nothing in return.

At the end of the story, her sacrifice is ignored and wasted by everyone when the red rose, stained       by her heart’s blood, is rejected and destroyed. Her selfless nature and unshakeable believe in true love shows that true love does exist but people make it selfish.

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You may also like to read:

Material Love vs Spiritual Love,The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wild.

Summary of The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde.

Character of Young Student in The Nightingale and the Rose  

Themes and Literary Techniques Found in The Nightingale and The Rose


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