This piece is referred to in "The Dead," the last story of Dubliners , whose Mr. Browne introduces the subject of an Italian tenor of bygone years who had once sung five encores to this song, "introducing a high C every time." It is part of a continuing pattern of references to past events and deceased people throughout the story, especially to singers of long ago who (in the opinion of the company) far surpassed the vocalists contemporary to the time of the story. The introduction of the high C would probably have come at the end of Don Caesar's aria via a gratuitous alteration of the music to please the audience through a transposing of the last two notes of the song up an octave, since the original score calls only for a middle C. Nevertheless, the song is a part of the death metaphor that runs throughout the story.
[from CD liner notes, contributed by Prof. Zack Bowen]
It has been argued that the narrators in Dubliners rarely mediate, which means that there are limited descriptions of their thoughts and emotions, a practice said to accompany narratorial invisibility where the narrator sees instead of tells. While some point to Joyce's use of free indirect discourse as a way to understand his characters, he often obscures the reliability of his characters in a way that would make any kind of analysis very difficult.  As Richard Ellmann has argued, "Joyce claims importance by claiming nothing"  His characters' personalities can only be observed because they are not explicitly told.