Symbolism In Charlotte Smith's 'To A Nightingale'

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The meaning behind ‘To a Nightingale’ can be interpreted in many ways. One interpretation sees Smith herself as the Nightingale being caged inside a ‘disastrous love’ that was her arranged marriage. Smith demonstrates a range of techniques to express her feelings and emotions of sorrow through her text ‘To a Nightingale’. This paper will focus on these techniques which are found in both in the structure and content which are demonstrated through different sound devices and is developed by the techniques of sibilance alliteration and the use of stressed and unstressed terms. It will consider how the techniques contribute to the development of the sonnet and the interpretation and will then further discuss the language. Including connotations and plurisign in the
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The Nightingale found in the title of the text represents love. According to Dictionary of literary symbols, A Nightingale, in ancient times, was considered a spring bird as during this period the Nightingale would chirp a melodical type song. The Nightingale 's song was considered one of romance as the spring time was considered as a time for romance and new beginnings. As described above, the song of the Nightingale was a major influence in Smith’s third sonnet.
In Smith’s sonnet she often refers to a nightingale being held captive in a caged. The Dictionary of Literary Symbols emphasis that a bird in a cage symbolises an individual being exile. This may represent that Smith was feeling distressed when she was writing the sonnet.

In the seventh line of the poem Smith utilises an idiom when using the words leav’st thy nest. Leaving the nest can be taken as a literal nest, were the Nightingale bird lives, or as a connotation as living the home. This is especially important when interpreting Smith’s sonnet as the use of language, in this case an idiom, allows the sonnet to continue with its bird-like theme, linking it to the

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