A masterpiece of Andersen's fairy tale “The Nightingale” - Andersen Hans Christian

Essays on literary works - 2023

A masterpiece of Andersen's fairy tale “The Nightingale”
Andersen Hans Christian

Andersen's famous "Nightingale" also belongs to the masterpieces of Andersen's fairy-tale creativity. M. Gorky recalls in the autobiographical story “Childhood” how he first became acquainted with this work: “... we began to read the amazing fairy tale“ Nightingale ”- she immediately took everyone by the heart.

* “In China, all the inhabitants are Chinese, and the emperor himself is Chinese,” I remember how this phrase pleasantly surprised me with its simplicity, cheerfully smiling music, and something else surprisingly good.

The bored emperor and his courtiers admire a toy nightingale. He shimmers with gold and silver, studded with diamonds, but sings "like a wound hurdy-gurdy", endlessly repeating a single melody. And a real nightingale, “a little gray bird”, knows many beautiful songs and sings each of them in its own way. And when the emperor wants to bring a living nightingale closer to him, he answers.

* “I can’t nest in the palace, just let me fly to you when I myself want it ... I will sing to you about the happy and the unfortunate, about good and evil - all this surrounds you, but is hidden from you.”

A complex philosophical thought about the relationship of art to life is expressed here with amazing simplicity and clarity. Poetry is crowded in a gilded cage. She wants the whole world.

Often the writer rises to deep satirical generalizations. A sudden oncoming storm moved all the signs in the city. Instead of the church, people go to the theater, instead of the State Council - to the boys' school, etc. (“On how the storm outweighed the signs”). Andersen denounces the substitution of true values on which social evil rests even more sharply in The Shadow. The shadow not only separates from its master, but acquires independence, wants to enslave him, take advantage of someone else's mind and knowledge, and when a scientist does not agree to become a shadow of a shadow, he mercilessly cracks down on him. By the way, the author mentions “the well-known story about a man without a shadow”, meaning Chamisso's story, but, as we see, he decides the topic differently. And again about the substitution of truth: in one of the most popular fairy tales (“The King’s New Clothes”), the words of a boy who was not afraid to announce publicly: "And the king is naked!" — acquired a common sense.

L. N. Tolstoy translated this wonderful tale and interpreted it in his diary as follows: “People invent signs of greatness for themselves: kings, commanders, poets. But it's all lies. Everyone sees through and through that there is nothing and the king is naked.”