Fairy tales bring to reality the wishes of an individual. Based on this assumption, storytellers design their script to carry potent messages enveloped with fantasy. The Nightingale and the Rose is a fairy tale of love. In the story, we are introduced to a young student’s passion when he is promised a dance on the ball of the price by a beautiful girl. The reader understand the boy expects much to come out of this dance. He seems to be hoping to build a foundation of his love life at the ball. The young student’s mind is filled with expectations when handing her the rose. He reckons he would embrace her; consequently, the girl would “lean her head upon my shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine” (Wilde 1). The predicament faced by the young student is the absence of red roses. In effect, he feels the encounter with the girl will be a sorry state of affair. The devastation and desperation in the boy’s heart as witnessed by the Nightingale melts her heart as she pities the boy. The girl’s request to be sent a red rose is unrealistic since it is not a flowering season for the red roses. Thus, the Nightingale and the Rose provide an account of the misery that surrounds love and sacrifice.
The boy’s expression of love influenced the nightingale. The Nightingale is stunned by the boy’s reaction and equates the passion in the boy to a character she sings about when she says, “here at last is a true lover,”(Wilde 1). The Nightingale sacrificed her life, her singing and everything for the sake of this young man’s chance for love. This does augur well when the girl refuses the rose citing another dancing invitation where she receives jewels as gifts. She values them more than the rose, and therefore, turns down the boy’s offer. This discourages the boy as his perception toward love totally changes, and he vows to embark on philosophy.
The beautiful girl in the story depicts materialism. She cannot offer herself for a dance just for fun; rather she wants something in return. She does not care how much one suffers to get the flowers, given it is not a season for roses; rather she stays firm on her condition before she agrees to dance. As a result of this, she cannot look beyond the mere dancing the boy had requested to decipher there is more than meets the eye especially, after the boy had brought the rose at winter. She brushed the rose aside and without promise or anything she dismissed the boy. Her smirk of disapproval at the end when the boy presents the rose is testimony to her lack of interest in dancing with the boy. 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 (Del 34).
The Nightingale showed a tendency to embrace virtues such as love and beauty with high regard. She sings of love, a lover she never met, and when she meets the person she thinks to be the lover she always sings about him to the moon and the 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 boy’s chance of happiness, all this in the hope the young man will woo the lady he so desires. The Nightingale showed character and determination. The Nightingale and the Rose tell the story of wild wishes. We fail to get what we want and this is the fact about life. The Nightingale approached three trees and requested a red rose; the first tree produced white roses, the second tree produced yellow roses, the third tree agreed to produce red roses for the blood of the Nightingale.
The leading character of Wilde’s story, the Nightingale, can also be viewed as a symbol of love. The true meaning behind this character is not obvious. On the surface, one might argue that the Nightingale represents Love and, therefore, is a metaphor for undying Love, which was assassinated because of the enamored one himself. Indeed, the Nightingale became the symbol of love; the bird is known as the sweetest singer nature has ever produced; the Nightingale fights in the name of Love; the Nightingale dies for the sake of love. The symbol portrayed by the Nightingale ventures deep in love. Love is far too generic a concept to be applied to the given character. Therefore, it can be concluded that the Nightingale is represented in the story as the symbol of sacrifice.
One might argue the idea of sacrifice seems alien in the story. Considering the story more attentively, one will see it revolves around the Nightingale and the choice she is going to make. She probably did not like the student given the fact she tells the student off as he has nothing to his name (Del 22). Therefore, as a rejection of 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 could be yearning for the ball with the chamberlain’s nephew. This would explain the reaction after she was presented with the gift. The Nightingale promised to sing to the rose tree that produced red roses. She sang her heart out while forcing the thorn into it. She died from it; she adhered to what they had agreed to the end.
The girl is selfish; she doesn’t care much about the boy’s welfare. She doesn’t want to associate with the boy even after he had presented the gift and doesn’t care what happens to the boy afterwards (Del 23). This is despite she knows the boy to a extent. On the other hand, the Nightingale is selfless (Del 35). She sacrificed her life for the sake of the boy’s happiness; she is touched by the same reason, which gives her joy is the reason the boy is disappointed.
The theme of the story is built on love. The background of the story centered on love. The story examined the word sacrifice, love and materialism. The Nightingale showed love and sacrifice, the boy showed love, while the girl depicts materialism. The boy met the girl of his dreams and paid a price for love. The Nightingale expressed love from a distance and knew the price to pay for love. We are surrounded by options, and the choices we make are products of what we are willing to sacrifice. The girl sacrificed her love for material wealth; she exchanged joy with gold and silver. The boy wanted more but not willing to pay the ultimate price. He was not willing to stretch his ability to find a solution.
Finally, there are many contrasts to these two characters; the boy and the Nightingale. The Nightingale’s character imbues peace and love, therefore, a harmonious prosperous environment to both master and servant. The happy ending is not his style. Nature is better than ours because, it is pure less materialistic. Oscar expressed the concept of love. He explained the price for love and the consequence of following one’s heart. Oscar wanted the audience to understand the different aspects of decision making. He used different characters to examine the stages of decision making from a different perspective. Oscar used the word ungrateful when he expressed the character of the girl. I believe the boy was equally ungrateful to the Nightingale who sacrificed her life for love. Oscar gives life to the story. He added beauty using his imaginations to analyze the sacrifices made by the Nightingale. The passion towards anything influences the choices we make.
Del , Catherine. The Nightingale and the Rose: Book Review, Sydney: McGraw Publishers, 2012. Print.
Johnson, Stephen. “Firsova, Yelena”. The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Stanley Sadie: London, 1992. Print.
Wilde, Oscar. The Nightingale and the Rose, New York: Kessinger Publishers, 1990. Print.