Class 10 English Notes

CBSE Class 10 English Poetry 1 The Frog and the Nightingale

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The Frog and the Nightingale – Vikram Seth


The Frog and the Nightingale

The Frog and the Nightingale – Vikram Seth


The Frog and the Nightingale’ is a story in verse. It describes how a frog exploits a nightingale to earn money. This table shows how the bad training given by the frog causes the death of the nightingale. The moral is that one should have confidence in oneself and believe in one’s own talent.
Once upon a time, a frog croaked in Bingle Bog. Other creatures hated his voice but they had no choice. The loud and unpleasant noise of the frog continued from the sumac tree. He croaked there from dusk to dawn. Neither stones, prayers, nor insults, complaints could stop him from his strong determination. He was determined to express his elation through his song.
One moonlit night, a nightingale perched upon the sumac tree started singing. Other creatures in the bog clapped and admired her melodious sweet song. Being surprised at the sweet melody of the nightingale, he feared that he would not be heard anymore. As the nightingale sang beautifully, ducks swam to her, toads, tiddlers, and teals were delighted and called the song ‘divine’. But the frog was not happy.
Next night as the nightingale was ready to sing, the frog interrupted and introduced himself as the owner of the tree and known for his splendid baritone. The nightingale inquired about her song. As a critic, he replied that it was not too bad but was far too long. The technique was fine but the song lacked certain force. The nightingale was flattered that such a reputed critic had discussed her art.
Being jealous, the frog took the nightingale into confidence and made an evil plan to get rid of her. He became her trainer and made her sing excessively for long hours. He started pointing out her mistakes and drawbacks. The Nightingale received a huge response. Animals from miles gathered around to listen to her sweet song, and the cunning frog took admission fee from them.
The strain of training and singing was too much for that delicate and innocent bird. She grew sad and pale and miserable. The frog scolded her as she could not sing sweetly anymore. The nightingale had to bear scolding and exploitation. She lost the beauty of her voice. The other creatures stopped coming to hear her song at the concerts arranged by the wicked frog.
The frog was very angry at the failure of the nightingale. He asked her to puff her lungs to follow the fashion of the stage. The nightingale puffed up, that made her vein burst and she died.
The frog described her as a foolish creature. She was nervous, tense and prone to influence. The frog was victorious and sang unrivaled in the Bingle Bog.

Important Questions

Q. The frog, who was not at all talented, ruled in the end and the nightingale, who possessed the fineness and versatility of voice, died. Explain the irony of the statement, highlighting the values the frog should have possessed.
A. The frog, who was not at all talented, ruled in the end by dint of his cunningness and wickedness. He was jealous of the nightingale and hatched a plot to get rid of her. He was dismissive and condescending and treated the nightingale as a stupid creature. The irony in the statement is that the frog was the one who tried to teach the nightingale to sing differently. He did not let her song to be her own. On the other hand, the nightingale was a meek and submissive creature who lacked confidence. Her lack of judgment made her an easy prey to cunningness of the frog. Despite having the fineness and versatility of her voice, the nightingale met a fitting end as she was truly brainless. The frog philosophized that one’s song must be one’s own. One should realize his self-worth and should not think low of oneself.
Q. The poem, ‘The Frog and the Nightingale’ highlights the fact that lack of confidence can lead to disaster. Keeping this in mind, elaborate the statement ‘If you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you’.
A. ‘If you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you’ teaches us that one should exercise one’s reasoning without letting others lead us blindly. If one has self-confidence the one can win the whole world. Without self-confidence, nobody can succeed in life. You can hold the infinity into your palm only if you have the confidence in you. In the context of the poem, the nightingale was herself responsible for her downfall and death, because she did not have faith in her ability and did not have the brain to realize the enormity of her talent.
Q. It is the nightingale’s gullible nature that brings about its death. Comment.
A. The nightingale believed blindly whatever the frog told in his appreciation. She never tried to know the fact. She failed to look through the conspiracy of the frog. Being credulous, she came to the conclusion that the frog was a better singer. So, she herself was responsible for her death.
Q. What message does the poet wish to give in the poem.
A. Credulous and docile people always suffer in this world. Owing to the lack of self-confidence, they are always misguided by others, and they always suffer disaster ultimately. The Nightingale never knew her virtues. She could not realize that she was far better than the frog. So, the crafty frog exploited her and caused her death.
Q. The Nightingale placed her blind trust in the frog but he exploited her. With reference to the poem elaborate on the statement ‘Betrayal always come from those whom you trust.’
A. Being credulous and docile and simple-hearted, the Nightingale trusted the frog blindly. She never tried to verify whatsoever was boasted of by the frog. She regarded him Mozart and asked him to evaluate her song. But the frog was an epitome of avarice and evil. He was cunning, crafty and a shameless bully. Her blind avarice for earning made the Nightingale sing for long hours and tired her to death. So, it was indeed a betrayal of trust. In a real-life situation, we happen to see several examples of betrayal. Those who trust other blindly are considered foolish. Greedy people start making use of them as such people are considered to be so gentle and tolerant. So, the treacherous fellow betrays such credulous and timid people easily in their own interest.
Q. What is the irony in the statement of the frog when he says, “That your song must be your own”?
A. The Nightingale had been singing her song since her arrival in the Bingle Bog. It was the frog who impressed her cunningly and persuaded her for training. He started exploiting her did not allow her to take a risk. He compelled her to sing louder and louder. It was the part of his conspiracy that caused her death. Later on, the frog himself told that she must not have changed her way of singing.
Q. Nightingale was responsible for her own fate. Explain.
A. The nightingale was timid, credulous and brainless. She lacked confidence and was a poor judge of herself. She failed to see through the evil designs of the crafty and heartless frog. She was prone to betrayal, and she allowed the heartless frog to intimidate and dominate her. Being submissive, she could not oppose the frog.
Q. ‘The Frog and the Nightingale’ is a symbolic poem. What lessons do you learn from it?
A. For survival and success, one must have certain qualities. One must be able to protect one’s interest as well as one’s life. Credulous people are always misguided by others. Those people who lack confidence always suffer. we must not be docile. People may get advantages of this quality of ours. It is absolutely true that our self-image is often based on what people start using us. The need of the of the time is that one must imbibe those qualities that can protect us from the conspiracy and exploiting attitude of the heartless and cunning people. There is no end of the avarice of such people. We ourselves will have to know how to protect our interests through the Nightingale was superior to the frog in many aspects, the frog exploits her and was even responsible for her death.

Character Sketch

  • The Frog – The is portrayed as totally opposite to that of the nightingale. The frog is shown to be irritating, proud and disdainful. As we see, he is boastful of a talent he doesn’t possess. He sings loudly in a coarse, harsh voice that disturbs everyone. Everyone in the jungle hates him. But all this doesn’t affect him. The frog also feels jealous of nightingale’s popularity. He is also very cruel and greedy as he forces the poor nightingale to sing day and night without taking rest in order to make more money. He was not liked by anyone in the jungle.
  • The Nightingale – The nightingale is very unconfident, timid and shy. But she has a beautiful, melodious voice that makes her very likable. When she sings for the first time, she impresses everyone instantaneously. Visitors from far off places come to listen to her voice. But she is not proud of all this at all. In fact, she lacks confidence and faith in herself. Not only is she unaware of her own talent, but she also makes a big mistake by believing strongly in the frog’s judgment of her song. Of course, one should accept criticism positively and try to improve, but not without a careful self-reflection. She burst her vein at the end and dies.

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