Oscar Wilde was a famous Irish writer and poet. He was born to an upper-middle-class family and graduated from the Trinity College in Dublin where he studied Classics. In 1879 Wilde moved to London. Not only were his short stories popular he was also one of the most creative playwrights. The Nightingale and the Rose was originally published among the narratives in Wilde’s first volume of fairy tales, The Happy Prince and Other Tales in 1888.
In order to explore the realm of sophisticated complications that Oscar Wilde designs and builds in the form of drama, poetry and short stories, all his writings have one characteristic and common characteristic. All of these are just saying complicated and controversial things. In other words, something that seems to be a social and somehow domestic play, or in this case ordinary romance turns into a multilayered rhetorical finance. His most famous work “The Importance as Ernst” is actually about the importance of having enough tolerance to respond to important changes in life. Likewise, 'Salome' is not a historical, mythological or religious tragedy. In fact, it's a rather long song of love. It can be applied to 'The Nightingale and the Rose,' which turns out to be quite different from what could have been judged at first sight. Oscar Wilde was a true writer: his prose was as clever and prosperous and rhythmic as his poetry, and his story was as dramatic as his plays. Wilde had vast knowledge not only in modern literature and philosophy, but also in ancient times, and was a multifaceted viewer who could observe and describe the deep strata of life. Many of his stories were deliberately written in an old-fashioned format that gave them mythical colors just to translate the reader's point of view into deeper meanings hidden in the story. In this sense, he actually tried to create a primitive pattern in story writing.
“The Nightingale and the Rose”, is a fairy tale that incorporates modern issues affecting young people. Oscar presents love using the basic structure of a fairy tale story to communicate the different perceptions of love among young people Although “The Nightingale and the Rose” is a children’s story but it contains a lot of philosophical and emotional issues that are beyond the understanding of children. It is also enriched with the wealth of deep meaning, it is full of indirect comments on life, personifications, similes and symbolism.
'The Nightingale and the Rose' shows a lot of diversity found in Wilde's works. He creates a complex conflict in the reader's mind with many contradictory elements. These elements can be divided according to the format and content of the text. Formal contradictions appear rather in prose that looks like a long phrase of love. The reader can't help but wonder which, for example, is there when he reads, 'She passed through the forest like a shadow, like a shadow that sailed across the garden.' Wilde continues to use this poetic tone, reminding us of Hans Christian Andersen's strong stratum in his story development confirmed by others. This poetic attitude takes the form of pure prose only in the last scene, this young protagonist, along with the reader, encounters the real world, a cruel and material place, and rejects all stories of unhelpful sentiments. Interestingly, this truth is expressed in this love story by a character who should accept the main character.
The short story The Nightingale and the Rose is rich in its thematic value, such as love, sacrifice, selfness, pity, materialism, and gratitude. The main theme of this story is sacrifice and love. Oscar suggests these two main ideas using three characters to inform readers of different kinds of love.; These include true love and unrequited love. Oscar aimed to reflect the cruelty of the modern world, showing how people could misinterpret love. The theme of sacrifice begins in the name of true love and through Nightingale's own sacrifice to help others. When Nightingale saw the student crying for his lover, she believed that love made her help the boy. So she decides to help him and goes out of her house looking for red roses. She learned how to get a rose after finding it everywhere. She must give the blood of her heart to the white flower and make it red. She believes her life is worth dying for true love. His behavior has proved that some people are willing to make sacrifices to make others happy.
Red roses became an important symbol in the story because they symbolize sacrifice. Nightingale sacrifices her life for love. She thinks she deserves to sacrifice her life for her true love. This sacrifice shows that true love exists, but in the end no one appreciates it. Wilde is try to express true love, but people think of it as shallow and selfish. A student who thinks he is in love does not know the meaning of true love. When a girl rejects him and his red roses, he calls her an ungrateful person and says that love seems more of a materialistic than a true love.
In addition, it also symbolizes materialism. The subject of materialism is explored by characters in this tales. The young student, the professor's daughter, and Chamberlain's nephews are in a sense of materialistic. The student claiming to be in love is not actually in love but rather in the rational side of materialism. To him, red rose is worth more than Nightingale's life and true love. When Nightingale sang, he says that her voice is beautiful, but shallow, and there is no emotion that shows she is a materialistic person who cannot feel her deep emotions. On the other hand, his love daughter shows materialism by refusing red roses. She thinks valuable jewels are worth more than red rose. At the end of the story, Nightingale's sacrifice is wasted as the girl rejects the rose and the boy destroys it. In addition, Chamberlain's nephew is also materialistic because she carries around valuable jewelry to show her love. Love is seen not as their true feelings but as their material pursuit.
As Love is the main theme of this story, Multi-forms of love are examined in short story: True love, infatuation and conditional love. The analysis of three aspects of love through three character in the story. Firstly, true love is represented by the Nightingale that True Love involves sacrifice, selflessness and suffering. It is one of the strongest human emotions. True Love is wiser than Philosophy and mightier than Power. True Love is better than “Life”. True Love is a “Love that dies not in the tomb”. It stands the test of time. True Love is the rarest among mankind. It is often discarded as the red rose for a lesser emotion which might not demand sacrifice.
And the infatuation, it was represented by the Student. This form of love is impulsive and superficial as it is based on mere physical attraction. Outward demonstration of its strength (such as offer of gifts, weeping) is usually associated with infatuation. Brands True Love as a silly thing. it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true‟. It is “quite unpractical”. A false passion which does not think of sacrifice. This form of love does not associate itself with emotions. It is an intense feeling but without the quality of being believable. Short term and easily forgotten. Alters and seeks of wealth and a higher social class in the partner. Infatuation is a common form of love. It is full of doubts and is fickle.
And the Conditional love is also type of love, but it was quite far from true love. It was represented by the professor’s daughter. Conditional Love is not genuine. As its name suggests it sets down conditions which need to be satisfied. Even when one condition is satisfied moves to other conditions in order to avoid commitment. Is often based on social conditions as materialism and status. The mind is calculating and crafty and works towards obtaining the maximum in these two spheres. This form of love does not associate itself with emotions. Alters and seeks of wealth and a higher social class in the partner. It is transferred easily to a better contender. Though projected as a female affliction could be equally applicable to males. This too is a common form of love.
- Oscar Wilde. “The Nightingale and the Rose.” Aspects of Fiction. Ed. Tan Zheng Shanghai: Fudan, 2019.
- “The Nightingale and the Rose Summary & Analysis - Oscar Wilde.” LitPriest, https://www.litpriest.com/browse/short-stories/the-nightingale-and-the-rose-summary-analysis/.
- McManus, Dermot. “The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde.” The Sitting Bee, 24 June 2017, http://sittingbee.com/the-nightingale-and-the-rose-oscar-wilde/.
- “The Nightingale and the Rose.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Sept. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nightingale_and_the_Rose