Thursday, August 6, 2009

Music in Shakespeare's "The Twelfth Night"

In general, music was made in the very same way that literary works are created- through the imaginative and inventive minds and hearts of highly creative beings. They are also mostly made for the same definitive purpose- to be a medium created to impart a particular image or idea open for various interpretations of the audiences. As such, an effort that demands a combination of both music and literary artistry should be considered as a uniquely challenging piece worthy of recognition and analysis. A perfect example of this is Shakespeare’s The Twelfth Night.

To carefully examine the effect of musical incorporation in literary works, this paper aims to explore: “The use of music- particularly songs- in order to enhance the thematic focus of the play, the Twelfth Night.” For this purpose, we will identify the theme supported by the songs as: Happiness is a grand opportunity that comes rarely and therefore, should be seized readily. Moreover, throughout the play, happiness is more or less equated to the state of being in love and being loved in return.

As observed in the said play, there are several points in the play where the music proved to be one of the most prevalent themes and forms of medium upon which the theme was delivered. Basically, the songs enhanced the thematic emphasis of the piece because: it magnified the feelings portrayed in the play; the songs introduced supporting ideas that emphasized the theme; and allows the audience to realize some points to ponder that are related to the theme.

It can be pointed out that music was incorporated in the drama to magnify the feelings portrayed in the play. Generally, as in any play, movie, or visual presentation, an audio piece needs to accompany such in order to enhance the effect that the otherwise plain presentation might garner from its audience. In the play, it can be noted that music accompanied certain scenes where feelings of doubt, pain, happiness, or blissful love need to be emphasized. Particular examples include Toby’s There dwelt a man in Babylon and O, the twelfth day of December to emphasize his state of foolishness and comedic tendencies; and the jester’s Adieu, Good Man Devil to emphasize the pitiful state of Malvolio.

Also, music was used to elaborate the theme of the whole plot by inserting more supporting ideas about the focus of the play. This was done through the incorporation of songs by the jester such as that in Act two-scene three, where Toby and Andrew requested him to sing out of amusement. Apparently, the songs imparted stories of a different plot but were of course in line with the main theme of the whole play. Such songs were the carpe diem melody about grabbing the opportunity of being loved and being happiness, and that other song which relayed the story of a man who committed suicide after he had failed to fulfill his happy ending.

Last but not the least, it is important to note that music also gives way to some points about the theme that the audiences need to ponder on, therefore making the piece more substantial. For example, the animated character of the jester almost always stimulates a rather dull scene through the songs that he imparts, but in one way or another, repeatedly introduces the theme of love as a superlative form of happiness. This can be shown in Act II Scene 3: OLIVIA'S house where the song O mistress mine, where are you roaming? and in Act II Scene 4 when Come away, death was delivered by the jester so as to emphasize that happiness, in the form of love, should be seized instantaneously, and that a love lost can be much equated to death.

0 comments: