The Themes of Love and Selflessness in The Nightingale and the Rose

October 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

“The Nightingale and the Rose” is short story by Oscar Wilde. It is a tale of selflessness, but I believe we can dig a little deeper into this tale. I believe this tale also to be one about the failings of so called wise men.

The story of “The Nightingale and the Rose” by Oscar Wilde may be a short story, but it is a tragic one. A nightingale resting in her nest in an oak tree hears a young gentleman lamenting that he cannot dance with the girl he desires at the Prince’s ball tomorrow night, for the girl wants a red rose and he has none. Animals crept past him wondering why he is weeping and the Nightingale replies “He is weeping for a red rose.” (Wilde) The nightingale understands the mysteries of the Love and went searching for a red rose. She could not find one until a branch under the windowsill of the young man’s tower told him it would give her a red rose and pricked her heart on one of his thorns, and she agrees. There is a twist at the end, but I will not tell you what is.

This story is a very emotional one as well as ironic. It pulls on the reader’s heartstrings when they learn the nightingale is about to die, and then gives her life for love. Her death is then repaid by the fickleness and folly of human nature. It appeals to the readers’ sense of love and what love is, but also makes one feel terrible about being a part of such a corrupt society.

However, if you look at it from a logical standpoint, the student is right. Logic is better to some than love is. So, he is right by himself when he returns to his studies. However still, he will never know of the great sacrifice of the little nightingale for love.

Another way to look at this story is from its ethical standpoint. Not quite in the sense of animal cruelty (i.e. the death of the nightingale), but in the sense of the failing of human society. We sometimes put too much stress on wanting the finer things in life and not appreciating the small things, or little gestures of affection. We also tend to overlook other smaller creatures part in a grand scheme as with the death of the nightingale producing the red rose. Also, when we are rejected, as humans we tend to lash out and say mean things and return to a more primal savage man. Mankind may be the highest species on earth, but sometimes we act lower than the lowest of worms.

The quality of the writing in this story is really well done. The author [Oscar Wilde] uses a wider variety of colorful figurative language. For example, when he describes the colors of the roses he uses similes and metaphors really effectively. One example of this is ““My roses are white,” it [the rose tree] answered; “as white as the foam of the sea, and whiter than the snow upon the mountain. But go to my brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and perhaps he will give you what you want.” (Wilde). Wilde also uses irony in his story [The Nightingale and the Rose] as well. The ending is a perfect example of irony; however, I will not give away the ending. The language of this story is really exquisite, and is one of the saving points of this story.

I do not recommend anyone to read this story unless you are into heartache, and possibly self-inflicted pain of a mental sort. If you want a piece of your faith in humanity to go away, then by all means read this story. However, if you are into sad tales then go ahead and read this book. I, however, do not recommend this tale.

“The Nightingale and the Rose” is a wonderful tale. I personally would not recommend it, but it is still a very interesting read. It is a tale of love and loss, and how so-called wise men sometimes miss the beauty of a red rose and the dying lament of a nightingale for love.

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