Love is mysterious thing, attracting many authors in all-time. “The Nightingale and the Rose”, a fairy tale by Oscar Wilde, is a meaningful story following the theme of Love. The theme is deeply conveyed in this story through the characters’ different attitudes toward Love. For the Student, the need for Love, simply, is red rose. He fell in love with the Professor’s daughter. She promised to dance with him if he bought her red roses but he could not find any red roses.
He was so sad and disappointed. “He cried and his beautiful eyes filled with tears”, “He flung himself down on the grass, and buried his face in his hands, and swept.” Therefore, the Nightingale thought wrongly that the Student was a “true lover” and tried her best to help him. However, in fact, the feelings the Student has for the Professor’s daughter are those of material Love. He is only interested in her beauty. He did nothing to make his dream come true.
He only cried and “went into his room, and lay down on his little pallet-bed, and began to think of his love; and, after a time, he fell asleep.”
He never understands the Nightingale’s sacrifice and take it for granted. He happily “ran up to the Professor’s house with the rose in his hand”. Nevertheless, when being refused, he “threw the rose into the street” without hesitating. He discards the red rose- Love. The Student is ignorant of love and is not persistent in pursuing love. For him, “What a silly thing Love is”, “it does not prove anything”, “it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything.” The Student represents the contemporary society, following materialism. Money is everything and Love is nothing. The Lizard, the Butterfly and the Daisy- personified animals- also have their own thought about love. Love, for them, is something ridiculous and funny. They not only sympathize with the Student’s sorrow but also make fun of. When seeing the Student crying, they only emotionlessly ask to know. Oscar Wilde uses repetitive pattern “Why, indeed?” to emphasize their indifference.
They asked while the Lizard “ran past with his tail in the air”, the Butterfly “was fluttering about a sunbeam” and the Daisy “whispered in a soft, low voice”. Knowing the reason- for a red rose, they cried “how very ridiculous” and laughed outright. They do not appreciate Love. Love is a silly thing. However, Love, in the story, is clearly conveyed through the Nightingale. For the Nightingale, Love is something precious, respectable and mysterious, which is conveyed through a series of simile and metaphor. “Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds and dearer than fine opals…” When she saw the Student cried, she thought that “Here indeed is the true lover.” The Nightingale waw struck by “the mystery of Love” so she was willing to sacrifice her life for love. She flew all around the garden trying to find a red rose. She flew to ‘the centre of the grass-plot’, and ’round the old sun-dial’, and finally ‘beneath the Students window’, where she eventually found a red rose tree.
But the tree was damaged, and would not bear a red rose. The only way the Nightingale could obtain a red rose from this tree, would be to “build it out of music by moonlight”, and stain it with her “own heart’s-blood”; and that is what she did. For the Nightingale, “Life is very dear to all” and “Death is a great price to pay for a red rose”, however, Love and Human are more precious “Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man.” She had to suffer many pains, with her breast against the thorn closer and closer while singing all night. Her action demonstrates how one life would sacrifice itself in order to make another happy.
The only ‘true lover’ is in fact the Nightingale. She is the only one with sincere feelings, and she is prepared to sacrifice her life for those feelings, even though she knows she will not gain anything from it. The fact that she does for love and makes someone happy is enough for her. She is really the only one deserving love – the only one worthy of it. The Nightingale is devoted love. “The Nightingale and the Rose” reflects Oscar Wilde’s contradiction between art and life. Despite his viewpoint “Art for Art’s sake”, the author admires the beauty of devoted love. And although the story is a fairy tale for children, it contains many useful lessons about Love for adults. Love is something precious and respectable. It is only deserved for “true lover.”
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The Nightingale and the Rose. (2017, Jan 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-nightingale-and-the-rose-essay