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Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Frog and The Nightingale by Vikram Seth

The Frog and The Nightingale is a narrative poem written by Indian author/poet, Vikram Seth. Written as both an allegory and a fable, Seth has personified the characters to an extent that allows readers to understand his theme, without making the literal poem very deep.
  This poem discusses common human experiences. Written as a fable, the moral message deals with self- confidence and trust. Seth's main theme discuses the exploitation of the gullible by the crafty. This is- unfortunately- something we must all be cautious of today. Exploitation occurs around us every day. Seth delivers his message through an allegory. It  is a message for the readers to derive, rather than one to be fed to us.

  His characterization plays a vital role in the success of the poem. It is a narrative that is long enough to allow the characters to develop, and without the obvious traits Seth has created,the poem would be quite a dull one.
  The Frog can be described as crafty, cunning, arrogant, possessive, patronizing, demeaning and jealous. The Nightingale on the other hand can be described as shy, timid, talented, meek and obeying. These characteristics help to buttress the plot and theme.The sub- characters of the narrative,who form the Nightingale's audience do not have defined characteristics, however they are the subject of various personifications.
   His most evident personification is that of aristocratic titles. Seth presents each of the Nightingale's audience members with  personified titles, such as " The Duck of Kent". He also describes "ladies with tiaras glittering" who sit in the audience " twittering". The former are merely a few examples of the various ways in which Seth has used the tool of personification to his advantage.
  The poem also plays host to various alliterations such as "toads and teals and tiddlers" and the setting of the poem "Bingle Bog". Along with these alliterations, the poem follows a regular rhyme scheme of AABBCCDD ( following the iambic meter), with every two consecutive lines rhyming.
  Containing 12 stanzas,this long poem tells a tale that is clever, well thought-out, and beautifully written. The poem is one that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, with different people perceiving the moral in their own way.
 While I feel that the message Seth attempts to convey to us is one that is important and relevant to our world, I wouldn't classify this poem as one that is extremely complex. I prefer to read it as a light literary work- one more suited to teach children than an intricate work of art that can be explored for years and years. Nevertheless, Seth provides a break from the heavy material found around us- while still showing us his skill and passion.

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