Symbolism in The Nightingale by Marie De France

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

The Nightingale written by Marie De France is a classic work of literature that is still being read by students today that leaves a lasting impression on the readers. Marie De France created a complex but sophisticated love triangle that is dynamic when examining love, irony and symbolism.

Marie introduce her story of the two knights with their wives that live next to each other with good reputations. One of the knight’s wife was beautiful and known for being prowess and adventurous. The young knight is in love with his neighbor’s wife being well known and respected. the neighboring knight falls in love with her leading up to their secret love. Conflict among the two characters is that they love each other but cannot be with one another because they are married to other people and their reputation would be ruin if anyone finds out of their secret love for one another. Although being star cross lovers the couple created a way to communicate with each other through the use of the nightingale that is a very important symbol of their love for each other.

The nightingale represents true love for lovers that have never been able to hold hands or kiss one another. Being private lovers they learn to fall in love with each other’s words for one another instead of falling in love by physical touch knowing they will never be able to meet in person due to their situation and will have to make the best of what they have to make sure their love have room to grow and turn into something beautiful even though in the eyes of others it is looked down upon. Without the nightingale the wife would not be able to talk to her lover “There is no joy in this world like hearing the nightingale sing “(line 83-85), telling her husband why she gets up every night giving her a good reason to be up. The two lovers know that their love is forbidden would never be acceptable in the eyes of society but still meet every night to express their love for one another every night with words and gifts. The husband that is not a fan of the wife waking up every night to listen to the nightingale plots with his servant to capture the singing bird. the husband and servant specifically represent society and evil in the world today.

Capturing the nightingale is the husband’s way of controlling his wife and snapping its neck he killed and destroyed her love and connection with the neighboring knight knowing that she will not have a reason to ever get up in the middle of the night. The husband killing the nightingale paints a picture of how cruel and unaccepting the world can be when it comes to love.


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