Explain the function of music in Twelfth Night.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Though we seldom seem to think about it, history tells us that many of the productions of Shakespeare's plays included music. Most of the music itself has been lost, but, in fact, song lyrics are a big part of the play Twelfth Night. Most of the music also centers around the character of Feste the Fool. He is an entertainer and he "lives by the tabor," in other words, he makes some of his money singing and playing for the various households. He is mentioned in passing as a performer, and he is seen playing an instrument and singing in several scenes. So, in addition to the function of entertaining the audience, and setting the tone of the action in the various scenes where it occurs, music has another function in the play in that it further defines Feste's character and reinforces that he is, indeed, an "allowed fool" rather than just foolish.

 

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial