This is a presentation about the poem 'The Frog and the Nightingale' by Vikram Seth. The presentation includes storyline, about the author, allegory (parallelism with real life), lessons drawn, characterisation and the role of satire.
About the author
• Vikram Seth is an Indian novelist and poet.
• He was born on 20 June 1952 to Leila and Prem
Seth in Kolkata. He spent part of his childhood
• He has received several awards
including Padma Shri, Pravasi Bharatiya
Samman, WH Smith Literary Award and
Crossword Book Award.
• He is known for his verse novel The Golden
Gate (1986) and his epic novel A Suitable
• 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. When she stops, there is
thunderous applause. The frog is dumbstruck by the
mellifluous song of his rival, the nightingale.
• Next night, when the bird prepares to sing, the plotting
frog interrupts and posing as a music critic, says that
the technique was fine, but it lacks a certain force.
Unassuming and not used to any kind of criticism, she
defends herself by saying, "At least its mine".
• The heartless frog convinces the nightingale that she
was in need of training that only he could provide. 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.
• 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. Exhausted, 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'. A shrewd judge of character, he summed her
up saying that the nightingale was too nervous and
prone to influence, hence bringing her own downfall.
Now, the frog once more sings at night in his bog -
• Vikram Seth allegorizes the corrupt face of the
modern world where greed, fame and
competition outweigh the ethics and values
• The poet very cleverly gives us a message of
the importance of self-confidence and moral
courage in his poem.
• The moral is that you must think before you trust
someone. The nightingale too was foolish to
believe that the frog was a great singer and
the frog used its foolishness.
• Always have self esteem.
• The nightingale is simple hearted, innocent
and unsuspecting creature.
• She is a symbol of innocence.
• She is unassuming.
• She respects all and thinks that all are like her.
That 's why she is easily deceived by the sly
and willy frog.
• She is also timid and naïve.
• The frog has a boastful and pompous nature.
• He also portrays jealousy as the nightingale
surpasses him in term of singing and
admiration from a crowd who loathed his
• He is condescending.
• He is also shown to be money minded.
Role of satire
• The poem is a satire on the competition that prevails in the
present day society.
• The frog was too insecure about his position as the owner of
• And also, another reason to the frog acting so rude is the fact
that he knew that the nightingale had the ability to overpower
him in the forest.
• The poem also explains about the concept of the survival of
the fittest where silly and gullible people like the nightingale