The Songs of Shakespeare’s Plays

One of my favourite aspects of movies, television, and plays is music. I am always intrigued by the creative decision to include music, whether it be to create a mood or to comment on a specific situation. Why was a particular song chosen? How does it tie in to the plot? Why is the song played at that particular moment?

Shakespeare’s plays are no different. Not only did Shakespeare make reference to music numerous times in his works, he also wrote songs in to his plays! One such example is in The Tempest, when Ariel sings while helping Prospero with his attire.

Where the bee sucks. there suck I:
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There
I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough
(Act V, Scene I)

It isn’t a wonder that Shakespeare incorporated music in his works since music played a critical role in the Elizabethan era. Queen Elizabeth’s appreciation for the arts is hugely influential in the development and emergence of music and dance as popular forms of entertainment. With the number of songs written into Shakespeare’s works, I am left to wonder if Shakespeare originated what we now call musicals?

With that thought, I leave you with an interpretation of one Shakespeare’s songs. Enjoy!

Where the Bee Sucks

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