Asked by Rashee Soni | 5th Sep, 2014, 10:51: PM

Expert Answer:

The Frog and the Nightingale Summary


‘The frog and the Nightingale’ is a poem written by Vikram Seth. He explores themes like selfishness and self-confidence through the poem. Apart from being an allegorical poem about the importance of believing in oneself, it is also a cautionary tale about the dangers of being exploited by mercenary individuals.


The poem speaks about a frog who had a rather unpleasant voice. Despite this, he was full of self-confidence. He often croaked all night much to the annoyance of the other animals in the forest. They were tired of his incessant crocking and insulted him whenever he started singing. But the frog was adamant and didn’t heed their criticism no matter how much they rebuked him. He believed that his voice was very special and was insensitive to the distress he was causing others. His arrogance was one day shattered by the arrival of the nightingale whose melodious voice was seen as a welcome change from the frog’s harsh cacophony. The other animals appreciated her mellifluous voice and rewarded her with thunderous applause. The frog was threatened by the presence of the talented rival and was jealous of all the adulation she was garnering. So, he hatched a plan to destroy her and get her out of his way.


When the bird was about to sing the next night, the frog interrupted her by stating that he is a critic and possesses vast knowledge in the area of singing. He commented on her style of singing by saying she lacked a certain force. The nightingale was taken aback by the criticism and said ‘at least it's mine’ about her song. But the relentless frog convinced her that she needed his tutelage. Since the nightingale had no confidence in her own ability, she accepted the offer put forth by the frog and innocently compared him to Mozart. The frog took advantage of her innocence and amassed all the money he made through her concerts. While doing so, he experienced happiness due to the money he was earning. But at the same time, he felt a sense of bitterness as praises were heaped on the nightingale.


He made her rehearse night and day even when it rained. He abused her on purpose and broke down her morale. Her spirit took a beating and it was soon reflected in her singing. The animals who paid to hear her sing no longer came to her concerts. Broken hearted, she refused to sing any longer. The frog wouldn’t listen; he coaxed her to practice. This caused her to burst a vein and fall dead.


The frog sneered at the plight of the bird by saying he tried to teach her but she was far too stupid and nervous to learn anything. He insensitively states that she was too prone to influence well aware of the fact that he was the one influencing her negatively. The frog returns to his bog and continued to sing and annoy the other creatures. He was smug after causing the downfall of the nightingale and finally satisfied that he no longer had to compete with someone more talented than him.

Answered by Sandhya Raghavan | 8th Sep, 2014, 11:40: AM

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