SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
1. Why does the frog persist in singing though no one in the bog wishes to hear him?
Ans. The frog is too conceited and has an exaggerated opinion of himself as a singer. He thinks that his voice is a ‘splendid baritone’. He wishes to remain the unrivalled singer of the bog. The frog is loud and most unmusical. All the creatures of the bog tried all the tricks
to drive him away. But the frog is too thick-skinned and continues to sing his ‘crass cacophony’ from the sumac tree. The frog was so passionate about his singing that he would sing incessantly from evening till morning light. This was his way of expressing his heart-felt joy, he claimed. The frog is a hypocrite, who only lives for himself. He is least concerned for the discomfort he is causing to others.
2. Do you think the nightingale was responsible for her own exploitation? Why/Why not?
[C.B.S.E. 2012 (T-2)]
Ans. The nightingale is a singing ‘genius’ but she is not worldly-wise. Her serenade in the bingle bog leaves the creatures mesmerised but she does not have the foresight or the cleverness to cash upon her asset. She knows that she is a great sensation for the bog music lovers but gets exploited by the manipulative frog. The frog makes her practise again and again, exhausts her and she loses her star status. The nightingale is too vulnerable and becomes susceptible to fan following. She is a poor judge of psychology and does not see through the frog’s clever plans. So she ends up paying with her life. Her end is a great tragedy, a sad culmination of an unfulfilled artist, who dies prematurely.
3. What does the poet wish to convey in the poem ‘The Frog and the Nightingale’?
Ans. This is an allegorical poem by Vikram Seth and reveals a deeper meaning beneath the emotional story line. The frog is a living symbol of cunning and conniving people, while the nightingale represents innocence and vulnerability to the extreme. Artists like the frog are shams without substance and thrive on the misfortune of others. They are loathed, hated and have little worth themselves, so they derive sadistic pleasure in tormenting and exploiting others. Naturally talented singers are sometimes not worldly-wise, so they fall prey to scheming ‘touts’.
The poet ridicules such music organisers who mint money by cheating and exploiting others. There is a hint of satire evident, when the poet talks about money making people, who make false promises and destroy natural talent.
The poet also highlights the significance of public adulation in the life of an artist like the nightingale. She is innocent to praise and admiration but gradually, she also becomes addicted to it. So it can be said that even modest artists wish to perform before power-packed audience and the jingle of cash-counters gives them an emotional high.
The poet concludes that success is a game like tug- of-war, in which the clever survive and the innocent and vulnerable succumb to bitter defeat.