The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde

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Having been written when Oscar Wilde’s literary career was blossoming, The Nightingale and the Rose is one of his most well-known works. This tale reflects the author’s glorification of natural beauty, artificial beauty and also the beauty of devoted love. Beauty and art were the measure of all things. He admired unselfishness, kindness and generosity. In this tale, the true love is the main theme and the appearance of other characters is to show their attitudes towards the true love, which are very different. The Nightingale and the Rose was published in 1888. In the story, a Student fell in love with a Professor’s daughter who wouldn’t want to dance with him in the prince’s ball, unless he can find a red rose for her to wear. Because of cold weather, it is hard for the Student to find a red rose for the girl, “the need of a red rose made his life wretched”. When the Nightingale hears of his sorrow, he is moved by the girl’s passion and “true love”. The bird decides to sacrifice himself just for exchanging a red rose. Tragically, the red rose ends up under the wheel of a cart, because what the Professor’s daughter really wants is ascendancy and wealth. In this tale, there are 3 outstanding character sets: the Nightingale, the Student and the Lizard, the Butterfly and the Daisy. These characters have very different attitudes towards the true love, which are clearly expressed in this tale. The first character of this tale is the Student. He has a crush on the Professor’s daughter. He cries because “She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses, but in all my garden there is no red rose”. The author portrays him as a romantic and passionate one, illustrated by “The Prince gives a ball to-morrow 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. If I bring her a red rose, I shall hold her in my arms, and she will lean her head upon my shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine. But there is no red rose in my garden, so I shall sit lonely, and she will pass me by. She will have no heed of me, and my heart will break.” In this sentence, it is just by using the word “murmur” to show the student’s feelings of grievance and helplessness. Responding to the word murmur, the word “tomorrow” may be twisted as to-morrow and the normal pronunciation of it is changed into/tu:mo rou/.Because the vowel sound/ u:/and the diphthong are usually connected with the words blue and low respectively, naturally we can imagine the student’s feelings of anxiousness, fret as well as his low spirits . He is dreaming of a near fabulous future “Her hand will be clasped in mine.” Here, “clasp” means to hold tightly. But why does not the author use the word “grip” or “grasp”? This word is powerful enough to express the student’s strongest passion and love to the Professor’s daughter. And the action of the word clasp is also capable of revealing the student’s eagerness as well as his beautiful daydreaming. Because of cold weather, it is hard for the student to find a red rose for the girl, “the need of a red rose made his life wretched”. However, when the Nightingale sacrifices her precious life for his red rose, he understands nothing. Hearing the Nightingale’s song in the garden, he thinks it something meaningless and of no practical use. So the Nightingale, impaled on a thorn of the rose-tree, sings all night long beneath the Student’s windows. At dawn she dies and her body falls into the long grass. The Student looks out and sees to his delight a red rose, which he immediately plucks and takes to the girl he loves. But the girl is quite unimpressed, declaring that the rose will not go with her dress and, anyway, she prefers the jewels given to her by the Chamberlain’s nephew “I am afraid it will not go with my dress, and, besides, the Chamberlain’s nephew has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels costs far more than flowers”. So...
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