Analysis Of Hamilton: The Musical By Lin-Manuel Miranda


Once the cold hands of death take a hold of someone, it won’t stop to contemplate who they were. It will simply just take. Hamilton: An American Musical by the author Lin-Manuel Miranda, tells the tale of an ambitious man’s rise from poverty to an American Founding Father during the revolutionary war. Alexander Hamilton fought to make his way out from nothing and to create something he would be remembered by. He was an orphan, a bastard, a diamond in the rough who grew up to be a hero. However, that was not all he grew up to be. Alexander Hamilton was the artist of his own legacy and ultimately his own death, as shown throughout his choice to ignore the advice of others, his secret affairs, and his mentality of a martyr. 

Neutrality in crucial situations is forgotten in history. Alexander Hamilton was aware of this: “If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?” (Miranda 7, Act 1). To speak up, no matter what one’s beliefs are, will create a mark and a remembrance of who they were and what they fell for. Though told to him through sincere advice and direct warnings repeatedly, Hamilton never talked less and smiled more. He always included his beliefs even when it wasn’t necessary and was reproached for it. This obstinate characteristic is kin to what emerged Hamilton from a bastard, an orphan, son of a whore into a hero and a scholar as he calls it so: “I’m a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal tryin’ to reach my goal” (Miranda 8, Act l). Flowers grow in beautiful gardens and beautiful backyards, but there are flowers that grow between the cracks of concrete. With no one around to tend Hamilton, he’s learned how to do it himself and the process of which it takes. With this mentality and way of living,  he is not accustomed to staying neutral. Vocalizing his beliefs added to his legacy by declaring where he stood in history. 

Ambition and resilience, some of Hamilton’s core characteristics, are threatened by temptation upon a woman other than his wife. Unable to resist the dangers of an affair, Hamilton has practically shot himself in the foot: “I don’t know how to say no to this[...]I wish I could say that was the last time. It became a pastime. A month into this endeavor I received a letter from a Mr. James Reynolds[...]” (Miranda 16;17, Act 2). Due to his infidelity, he has unfolded a series of events for himself that will reveal themselves one by one like the fall of dominoes. His mistress’ husband, James Reynolds, has found out about the affair and decides to blackmail Hamilton. Reynolds threatens to expose the affair to the public if Hamilton does not pay good money. After this particular event unfolds, he reflects upon his actions: “I am ruined” (Miranda 18, Act 2). Swimming in a sea full of enemies, Hamilton was the biggest enemy towards himself at the end of the day. He ruined himself by choosing to have an affair and betray his wife. No one coerced him, he simply yielded to temptation with no strength capacity to resist. Revealing this inferior quality to his name wounded his legacy he spent a while building. Not only was he the architect of his name, but the wrecking ball as well. 

Alexander Hamilton was so ready to die that he forgot how to live. He often questions when death will catch hold of him: “I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory. When’s it gonna get me?” (Miranda 11, Act 1). Due to this way of thinking, imagining death often to where it feels as if it’s something familiar, Hamilton will spend each day in danger without fearing death. Knowing the risks of the revolutionary war and his involvement in it is still not a hindrance to Hamilton. He does not mind dying if it’s dying with honor: “If they tell my story, I am either gonna die on the battlefield in glory or—” (Miranda 25, Act 1). After his death, his wife, Eliza, mentioned how she wonders all the things Hamilton could have done if he were still alive. If he remembered to live, he could have completed all those things. Knowing Hamilton’s disposition, with all that he left unfinished, he is unsatisfied even in his death. However, his death was necessary as it was the last piece of his legacy. It plays a significant contribution by now giving it the purpose to be told: “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?[...]Every founding father story gets told” (Miranda 80, Act 2).  His personal choices constructed a legacy, but it is his death that allowed him to have one. 

All in all, Hamilton did not only grow up to be a hero. He also grew up to be a man with enemies, a man who flew too close to the sun, a cheater, a martyr, and a man who betrayed himself. A legacy is a canvas and Hamilton held the brush, and as proven throughout history, only in death is the artist’s work truly appreciated. There was so much more Hamilton could have done, so much that he could’ve painted onto the canvas of his legacy. However, none of that matters to death. Hamilton invited death in and it didn’t think twice to take him, leaving behind only a name for himself.

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