The Nightingale and the Rose

by

Oscar Wilde

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Nightingale and the Rose can help.

The Rose-tree Character Analysis

There are three rose-trees in "The Nightingale and the Rose," but only the one standing outside the Student's window plays a major role in the story. This is the tree that tells the Nightingale he can produce a red rose, but only at the cost of her own life. The Nightingale agrees, and spends the night singing with her breast pressed against one of the Rose-tree's thorns, slowly bringing life to a rose and dyeing it red with her blood. Despite his role in killing the Nightingale, the Rose-tree remains sympathetic, in part because he is one of the only characters who recognizes the Nightingale's sacrifice for what it is, speaking tenderly to her as she slowly impales herself on the thorn.

The Rose-tree Quotes in The Nightingale and the Rose

The The Nightingale and the Rose quotes below are all either spoken by The Rose-tree or refer to The Rose-tree. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of The Nightingale and the Rose published in 2008.
The Nightingale and the Rose Quotes

If you want a red rose…you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart's-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine.

Related Characters: The Rose-tree (speaker), The Nightingale
Related Symbols: The Red Rose
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Nightingale and the Rose LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Nightingale and the Rose PDF

The Rose-tree Character Timeline in The Nightingale and the Rose

The timeline below shows where the character The Rose-tree appears in The Nightingale and the Rose. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Nightingale and the Rose
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Art and Idealism Theme Icon
...the Student, and flies to the center of the garden to speak to the White Rose-tree. She asks him for a red rose, but he tells her that he has none,... (full context)
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Art and Idealism Theme Icon
When the Nightingale states her case to the Red Rose-tree, he confirms that his roses are red, but says that he cannot grow one in... (full context)
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Art and Idealism Theme Icon
When evening falls, the Nightingale flies to the Rose-tree and perches against the thorn. As the Moon listens, she begins to sing about young... (full context)
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Art and Idealism Theme Icon
Warning that day is fast approaching, the Rose-tree tells the Nightingale to press herself further onto the thorn. The Nightingale continues to sing,... (full context)
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Art and Idealism Theme Icon
The Rose-tree encourages the Nightingale to press closer one last time. Although rapidly weakening, she sings about... (full context)