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SUMMARY. The poet, Vikram Seth, very cleverly gives us a message of the importance of self-confidence and moral courage in his poem.

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The poet, Vikram Seth, very cleverly gives us a message of the importance of self-confidence and moral courage in his poem

Once in a bog, a frog sat under a Sumac tree and croaked all night in a loud and unpleasant voice. The other creatures loathed his voice but their complaints, insults and brickbats couldn't stop him from croaking stubbornly and pompously, insensitive to the disturbance he was causing.

Then, one night a nightingale appears at the bog. Her melodious voice captures the admiring attention of the creatures of the Bingle Bog. Ducks and herons swim towards the Sumac tree to hear the nightingale serenade. Some lonely creature even weeps hearing her song. When she stops, there is thunderous applause with the creatures demanding a repeat performance (encore). The jealous frog disturbed by the intrusion of a challenging rival listens to the nightingale dumbstruck.

Next night, when the modest bird prepares to sing, the plotting frog interrupts and posing as a music critic, says that the technique was fine, of course, but it lacked a certain force.


The heartless frog convinces the nightingale that she was in need of training that only he could provide. The nightingale, lacking in confidence and extremely gullible agrees and flatters him, saying that he was Mozart in disguise. The frog capitalized on the nightingale's servile attitude and said that he would charge a modest fee, which would not harm her.

The nightingale soon became famous and the frog grew richer, earning money from her concerts. Eminent personalities like the Owl (Earl) of Sandwich and Duck (Duke) of Kent attend the concerts. The frog sat and watched with mixed feelings of happiness and bitterness. Happy because he was earning money and jealous because the bird was receiving so much attention.

Meanwhile, the frog makes the nightingale rehearse hard even when it rained and constantly criticized and abused her, ensuring that she became broken in spirit. Fired and spent, her voice lost its beauty and the creatures stopped coming to hear her sing. Morose and depressed, she refused to sing, but the frog goaded her to practice. Scared and unhappy, the nightingale tried, burst a vein, and died.

The frog, unsympathetic, dismissed her off - calling her 'stupid'. Now, the frog once more sings at night in his bog - unrivalled.



1. Alliteration - toads and teals, Bingle bog , crass cacophony

2. Metaphor- The frog has been compared to a Mozart, a famous Austrian music composer who has come to help her

3. Antithesis- (using 2 opposite words in the same line)- With a joy was both sweet and bitter.

4. Repetition- Ko-ash Ko-ash, awn & awn

5. Irony (saying something and meaning the opposite)-(frog says) - Your song must be your own.

6. Personification- Here Animals And Birds Have Been Personified And They Have Been Given Human Like Characters



The frog has a boastful and patronizing nature. He also portrays jealousy as the nightingale surpasses him in term of singing and admiration from a crowd who loathed his voice.

He is also condescending, and scolds the nightingale in every mistake she makes in an attempt to lower his rivals self-confidence & self esteem. He succeeds in doing so.

He is also shown to be money minded, with a capitalistic character (selling the nightingale's song for money).



The nightingale has a shy or timid nature. She is also naive and innocent, as she believed in a stranger (Frog) could actually help her. She is also extremely trusting, having failed to see the jealous motive of the frog who destroy here mentally and physically. She also doesn't fight for her rights, as she was forced to sing in bad weather. She also gets addicted to the crowd's applause.

In the end, it's her innocence and a weak character along with lack of self-confidence that leads to her death



The Poem tells us that one must know one’s own capabilities and even limitations so that nobody else can take undue advantage of one. The Nightingale had no confidence in her own capabilities so she fell prey to the frog’s evil designs.

It also projects the modern industrialized society where greed ,fame and competition override ethics and values

The crafty are often victorious over the innocent. The theme of social criticism is projected through this poem-the modern man is so prone to get influenced by the public opinion that sometimes he is ready to lose his originality in the wake of social criticism

The poet also mocks at the mindless people who enjoys high status in society and satirizes the idle rich upper class.



FABLE-A short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters.

This poem is a fable where birds and animals are characters. The aim of the poem is to make the readers realize and value one’s own individuality. If one follows somebody blindly, he loses self respect and confidence. This results in decay or death.

The Frog and the nightingale by vikram seth is an interesting and thought provoking poem. Written in the form of fable, it conveys a moral message.

A fable is a story in which animal characters are made to speak and act like human characters.



Vikram Seth was born on 20 June 1952 in a Punjabi family to Leila and Prem Seth in Calcutta (now Kolkata).

Seth spent part of his youth in London but returned to his homeland in 1957. He received primary education at Welham Boys' School and then moved to The Doon School. While at Doon, Seth was the Editor-in-chief of The Doon School Weekly. After graduating from The Doon School in India, Seth went to Tonbridge School, England to complete his A-levels where he developed an interest in poetry and learned Chinese. After leaving Oxford, Seth moved to California to work on a graduate degree in economics at Stanford University. He then went on to study creative writing at Stanford and classical Chinese poetry at Nanjing University in China.