The nightingale and the rose: poem analysis Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Dec 21st, 2019


The ‘NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE’ refers to a short story to which love features as the overall theme. In the story, we are introduced to a young student who has been promised a dance by the young beautiful lady that is the professor’s daughter. From the story, it is quite clear that the young boy expects much to come out of this and maybe he gets a foundation on his love life from the ball.

As such, the young student reflects “that the prince gives a ball tomorrow night, murmured the young student, and my love will be of the company. If I bring her a red rose she will dance with me till dawn,” (Del 6). The young student presage what he expects of her reaction when she sites him with a red rose.

He reckons that he would embrace her between his arms; consequently the lady would “lean her head upon my shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine” (Del 7). However, the predicament faced by the young student is that his garden lacks red roses.

In effect, he feels that the encounter with the lady will be a sorry state of affair. He reckons that he will be a lonely soul seated as the lady passes by for he has nothing good to offer her. Of this, he says she will have “no heed of me and my heart will break” (Wilde 5).

The devastation and desperation in the boy’s heart as witnessed by the Nightingale melts his heart as he pities the boy. The girl’s request to be sent a red rose is unrealistic then given the fact that it is not flowering season for the red roses.

However, the Nightingale is stunned by the boy’s reaction and equates the passion in the boy to a character he normally sings about when he says, “here at last is a true lover,”(Del 5). He proceeds to say “that night after night I have sung of him, though I knew him not: night after night have I told his story to the stars, and now I see him” (Del 8).

The above sets the pace in the story, therefore, with Nightingale sacrificing his life, his music and everything for the sake of this young man. This, however, does augur well given the fact that the girl refuses the rose citing another bowling invitation where she has been presented with jewels as gifts.

She values them more than the rose, and, therefore, turns down the boys offer, this discourages the boy as his perception toward love totally changes, and he vows to embark on philosophy. Meanwhile, the rose is trumped on by a cart as the boy had dropped it out of rage on the road. The following is, therefore, an analysis of the difference in characters between the Nightingale and the lady in the story (Firsova 2).

Character analysis

The beautiful girl in the story is materialistic. She cannot offer herself for dance just for fun and company that it may provide; rather she has to be given something in return. She does not care how much one has to go through to get the flowers given it is not a season for roses; rather she stays firm on her condition before she accepts to dance.

As a result of this, she could not look beyond the mere dancing the boy had requested t decipher that there is more than meets the eye especially after the boy had brought the roses and by then they were out of the season, she just brushed them aside and without promise or anything she dismissed the boy. Her smirk of disapproval in the end when the boy presents the rose is testimony to her lack of interest in dancing with the boy (Del).

The nightingale, on the other hand, shows a tendency to embrace virtues such as love and beauty with high regard. She sings of love, a lover she has never met, and when she finally meets the person she thinks to be the lover she always sings about to the moon and stars at night she stops at nothing to ensure the young man gets his love.

The Nightingale gives up her life for the sake of the boys happiness, all this in the hope that the young man will finally woo the lady he so desires. The beautiful girl falls for the jewels presented to her by the Chamberlain’s nephew, and as a reaction to the young man’s expression of disappointment she calls him ‘Ungrateful.’

She continues insulting the young man thus “I tell you what, you are very rude; and, after all, who are you? Just a student? Why? I don’t believe you have even got silver buckles to your shoes as the Chamberlain’s nephew has” (Del 34). After this, she walked out on the student leaving him with the flower at hand.

The beautiful girl in the novel is extremely witty, but sly. She probably did not want to go out with the student given the fact that she tells the student off citing he has nothing to his name (Del). Therefore, as a rejection to the offer she gave him a task she was sure he could not fulfill at such a season and time of the year.

In mind she would be yearning for the ball with the chamberlain’s nephew, this would explain the reaction after she was presented with the gift. On the other hand, the Nightingale is straightforward. She promised to sing to the rose tree that produced red roses. She sang her heart out while forcing the thorn into it. She died at it; she adhered to what they had agreed to the latter.

The lady is selfish; she doesn’t care much about the boy’s welfare. She doesn’t want to associate with the boy even after he has presented the gift and doesn’t care what happens to the boy afterwards (Del).

This is despite the fact that she knows the boy to a certain extent. On the other hand, the Nightingale is selfless (Del 35). She has sacrificed her own life for the sake of the boy’s happiness; she is touched by the fact that the same reason that gives her joy is in the same reason the boy is disappointed.


There are many contrasts to these two characters, the above highlight the stark differences between the two. However, the two characters if on a grander scale have significant effects to given subjects.

For instance, in a given society if people of influence exercise the same traits as the beautiful girl, her subjects are likely to follow such traits resulting to vices such as corruption. On the other hand, Nightingale’s character imbues peace and love, therefore, a harmonious prosperous environment to both master and servant.

Works Cited

Del ,Cathryne. The nightingale and the Rose: book review. Sydney: McGraw publishers, 2012. Print.

Firsova, Olegovna, ‘The New Grove Dictionary of Opera,’ New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1970. Print.

Wilde, Oscar. The Nightingale and the Rose. New York: Kessinger publishers, 1990. Print.

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