When America sings for you
Will they know what you overcame?
Will they know you rewrote the game?
The world will never be the same..."
Hamilton is a musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Opening in February 2015 at the Public Theater, the show moved to Broadway in the summer of 2015.
The musical follows the life of Alexander Hamilton, the United States' first Secretary of the Treasury. Beginning with his arrival in the United States (after writing his way out of his miserable, impoverished situation in the Caribbean), it tracks his rise to power through The American Revolution and early days of Antebellum America, and his inevitable fall. And it's all told through a blend of hip hop, R&B, pop, and contemporary show tunes, which, like those of Miranda's previous Broadway excursion, will be hard-pressed to leave your head.
Featuring a multi-racial cast, the original Broadway production stars Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler, Phillipa Soo as Elizabeth Schuyler, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Jonathan Groff as King George III, and Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de La Fayette.
Inspired by the play, a variety of pop, hip-hop and R&B artists collaborated with Lin-Manuel Miranda to create The Hamilton Mixtape, which was released December 2, 2016, and contains demos, remixes, and covers from Hamilton's soundtrack. One year later, Miranda announced The Hamildrops, a monthly release of Hamilton-related content; the first such "drop" was released December 15, 2017.
Hamilton contains examples of:
- Abled in the Adaptation: The real Thomas Jefferson was almost certainly on the autism spectrum, and his withdrawn nature was a far cry from his larger-than-life portrayal in the play.
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder:
- Theodosia starts her relationship with Burr while her first husband is in Georgia.
- Likewise, Hamilton embarks on an affair with Maria Reynolds while Eliza is visiting her father, with their children in tow.
- Actually Pretty Funny:
- Burr mentions that a tomcat was named after Hamilton because he was such a ladies man. Hamilton acknowledges the anecdote with a smile.
- Jefferson can't help but clap during the First Cabinet debate when Hamilton does a dance about Jefferson doing "whatever it is you do at Monticello". Then again, as he and a smug Madison put it, Hamilton's arguments for a bank is futile since he doesn't "have the votes".
- Adapted Out:
- Hamilton's brother James Jr.; this is justified since the brothers were separated following their mother's death and cousin's suicide. James never came to the States and thus wasn't a huge part of Alex's life.
- Cato, the slave of Hercules Mulligan who helped him spy on the British, is never mentioned, likely because it would make Hercules Mulligan unsympathetic (due to the obvious hypocrisy of owning a slave while fighting for his own freedom - as well as, obviously, owning a slave).
- The Hamiltons' other children — he and Eliza historically had eight, but only Philip is mentioned by name. Philip mentions having a little sisternote in "Take a Break". He says he wants a little brother in the same line, but by the time the real-life Philip was nine he already had two, Alexander Jr. and James. However, there are references to the Hamiltons having other kids who are unseen, such as "We Know" where Burr mentions Hamilton's daughter and sons, which was accurate; his second daughter Elizabeth wasn't born until after the Reynolds Pamphlet was released; and "It's Quiet Uptown" where Hamilton talks about taking the children to church on Sunday.
- Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy were not Philip and Catherine Schuylers' only children, just the three oldest. There were actually 15 kids in total, though seven died in infancy. The three surviving sons would have been children in the beginning of the play, and the youngest daughter would still have been an infant. Lin-Manuel Miranda had forgotten about the brothers' existence when he wrote Angelica's line "My father has no sons," but even after he realized his mistake, he kept it to enforce the theme of Angelica being the dutiful eldest daughter.
- Aaron Burr had two other children in addition to Theodosia: Louisa Charlotte and John Pierre, both conceived from a long-term affair he had with his maid before his wife's death.
- Though he never actually appeared in any draft of the play, Lin-Manuel Miranda has stated that the personage he most wishes he could have included was Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Prussian officer whose training of the Continental Army transformed them from a rag-tag volunteer army into a genuine fighting force. Hamilton in particular owed von Steuben a great debt for training them to use bayonets, since Hamilton's moment of military glory at Yorktown was primarily a bayonet charge. Hamilton and von Steuben (who settled in New York after the war) remained friends until the Baron's death in 1794.
- The earliest drafts of the show featured George Clinton, the longtime Governor of New York and a rival of Hamilton and the Schuyler family, as a major character, with funk songs styled after the musician of the same name. Unfortunately, Miranda found it difficult to incorporate Clinton into the play without disrupting the narrative and his songs were cut.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- Alexander and his friends treat ending slavery as a big part of the revolution; early on one claims they won't really have freedom "until we end slavery", reference is made towards "black and white soldiers wonder alike if this really means freedom", and Jefferson's slave-holding later is used to vilify him. Alexander was an abolitionist, but he had bought slaves in the past for others (including for the aforementioned Angelica), the Revolutionists were never fond of the idea of freeing slaves (given how important slavery was to the South, such a move would have meant losing their support for the Revolution), whereas Britain had outlawed slavery in the islesnote . The "Black and white soldiers" fought on both the American and British sides during the conflict, since both sides recruited many African-American slaves under the promise of giving them freedom after the war.
- In the end, Aaron Burr is depicted as being deeply troubled by his killing Hamilton in their duel, but in real life he was reportedly unfazed about having taken Hamilton's life, although later in life he really was quoted with the "world is wide enough" line.
- The play depicts the final straw between Hamilton and Burr was Burr being insulted by Hamilton supporting Jefferson for presidency; in real life, Burr accepted this without issue, but was insulted by later reports of Hamilton spreading malicious slander during his gubernatorial run.
- Adaptational Villainy:
- No, Hamilton never punched the bursar for calling him stupid; Lin-Manuel Miranda simply couldn't resist the rhyme with "Burr, sir."
- The conflict between George Eacker and Philip Hamilton is modified so that Eacker is more of a clear villain. George Eacker didn't actually cheat and shoot Philip early in real life; they both aimed at the ground without firing for a while, before Philip began raising his pistol slowly. Eacker then raised his quickly, and shot before Philip could, if even he intended to: tragically, Philip's intentions will forever be unknown.
- It's worth noting that although the show features the idea of shooting into the air, (including, prominently, on the poster,) this was not a known way of "throwing away your shot", or "deloping". Usually, someone who intended not to fire would aim at the ground. The show even has duel commandment number 9 be "look him in the eye, aim no higher". Hamilton recorded before the duel that he had no intention of aiming to kill, but to Burr, Hamilton raising a pistol at all seemed to imply otherwise.
- Thomas Jefferson is depicted as insulting Alexander Hamilton's immigrant background. In reality it was Jefferson who wanted to allow immigrants citizenship, a position which was opposed by Hamilton. It was John Adams, of all Hamilton's rivals, who most often attacked Hamilton's background (which is acknowledged in "The Adams Administration").
- Added Alliterative Appeal:
- Washington's first verse in "Right Hand Man" uses this, as a shoutout to The Pirates of Penzance.Now I'm the model of a modern major general
The venerated Virginian veteran whose men are all
Lining up to put me on a pedestal
Writing letters to relatives
Embellishing my elegance and eloquence
- During Hamilton's section of "Cabinet Battle #2":Meddling in the middle of a military mess
- One of Hamilton's verses in "We Know":I never spent a cent that wasn't mine
You send the dogs after my scent - that's fine!
- Burr's description of Lafayette in "Guns and Ships".He's constantly confusing, confounding the British henchmen
Ev'ryone give it up for America's favorite fighting Frenchman!
- A brief but tongue-twisting example from Helpless: "We were at a revel with some rebels on a hot night."
- Not just word-to-word, but syllable-to-syllable in Washington on Your Side: "If Washington isn't gon' listen to disciplined dissidents this is the difference: This kid is out!"
- Also in the cut song "Congratulations".I languished in a loveless marriage in London, I lived only to read your letters.
- In "The World Was Wide Enough":This man has poisoned my political pursuits!
- Washington's first verse in "Right Hand Man" uses this, as a shoutout to The Pirates of Penzance.
- Adorably Precocious Child:
- Peggy Schuyler in "The Schuyler Sisters" who manages to bring up that the upcoming war isn't going to be a bed of roses; that strife will come to American shores and their father may end up in danger by wanting to join the fight. Angelica and Eliza override her with optimism about how the revolution means new ideas and excitement, but Peggy makes quite a good point.
- Philip Hamilton as well; he concocts a rather cute rhyme for his ninth birthday and is studying French and musical scales with his mother.
- Adorkable: For a hard-headed politician, Alexander Hamilton has his moments, such as his irrepressible glee at being chosen to present at the Constitutional Convention. His son Philip partakes in this too.
- Adult Fear:
- During "The Schuyler Sisters," little Peggy Schuyler mentions that she hates the idea of war and her father wanting to fight, because of all the bloodshed that will come and her worry for her father. This serves as a counterpoint to Angelica and Eliza, who are eager to see the new ideas and revolution at hand.
- While Hamilton is away on the front, Eliza finds out that she is pregnant. She writes to Washington begging for her husband's leave. Hamilton when he meets her on leave was angry at Washington for sending him away when he was needed; hearing that he's going to be a father during revolution brings joy and terror....my Eliza's expecting me. Not only that, my Eliza's expecting! We gotta go, gotta get the job done! Gotta start a new nation, gotta meet my son!
- Eliza's husband is a workaholic and a politician, who never seems to spend enough time at home because he's building a country's system. Then she learns, not from him in private, but in public, that he cheated on her with another married woman, and laid out the details in print, humiliating her. Small wonder that her song "Burn" expresses heartbreak, anger, and disbelief.
- Hamilton and his wife Eliza are heartbroken when their son Philip dies in a duel. Hamilton also gave his son the advice to throw away his shot.
- Aaron Burr's chilling and chilled Wham Line during the final duel against Hamilton:Burr: This man will not make an orphan of my daughter.note
- Hamilton dying well before his old age, well before many of his children were old enough to live on their own. Eliza spends the rest of her life making sure Alexander isn't forgotten while taking care of their children, one of whom suffered a nervous breakdown and never recovered, outliving her mother by two years.
- All There in the Manual: The names of the two women who flirt with Philip in "Blow Us All Away" are given as Martha and Dolly in the cast recording's booklet, undoubtedly after Martha Jefferson and Dolly Madison, wives of Those Two Guys Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
- Almost Kiss: At the end of "Stay Alive," when Laurens has decided to duel Lee, per genius, Hamilton places his hand on the back of Laurens' neck and they bring their faces in close, as though about to kiss.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Viewers might be forgiven for assuming that the joking between Elizabeth and Angelica about old-timey polyamory was entirely invented for the show. Not quite. In a letter to Eliza, she apparently wrote, "If you were as generous as the old Romans, you would lend [Alexander] to me for a little while."
- Related to this character running gag, in "Take a Break" Angelica over analyses the grammar of Hamilton's letter and wonders whether his misplaced comma in the phrase "My dearest, Angelica" hints at feelings of romantic affection. This didn't exactly happen in real life; however, the reverse actually did, in which Hamilton joked that a misplaced comma in a letter by Angelica hinted that she was attracted to him.
- Ambition Is Evil: Deconstructed, as the play depicts ambition in and of itself as neither good nor bad. While Hamilton is extremely ambitious, he devotes himself first to America's independence, then towards developing a stable, lasting form of government and finance to help the new country. Burr's ambition is played less positively, as he seems less interested in achieving anything tangible through his ambitions, beyond his own advancement and creating a personal legacy.
- Another Side, Another Story: "Helpless" is a sweet love song about how Eliza feels about meeting Alexander and how he proposes to her. "Satisfied," which is right after it, shows the conversation from Angelica's point of view and it suddenly becomes a tragic song of self sacrifice.
- Taken out of the final version, but the original "Ten Things You Need to Know" number featured Burr's malicious interpretations of Hamilton's actions on the dueling ground, followed by Hamilton recounting the innocent reasoning behind exactly the same actions. Still somewhat present in the final version, where Burr's perspectives remain and Hamilton's narration of the events is replaced with a monologue which does establish he means well.
- Arc Number:
- 10. "Ten dollar Founding Father," "Ten Duel Commandments", et cetera. Eliza counts to ten in French while at the piano with her young son Philip, echoed in the second iteration of the ten duel commandments and reappearing again when the older Philip dies in a duel.
- 7. It's the number at which Philip changes the tune in "Take A Break", at which George Eacker shoots Philip, and at which Philip actually dies in "Stay Alive (Reprise)".Hamilton: I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory. When's it going to get me? In my sleep? Seven feet ahead of me?
- A more minor example, but 9. It's Philip's age in "Take a Break," the number he and Eliza count to in French, and the number counted to before ten in any on-screen dueling.
- Arc Words: Many. Parts "Non-Stop" and most of Hamilton's part of "The World Was Wide Enough" are composed entirely of the many Arc Words clashing.
- The word "time" itself is uttered quite frequently. Specifically, "Why do you write like you're running out of time?" is used in reference to Hamilton's intense and inconvenient work ethic. The last time we hear it, Hamilton is literally running out of time; he's set to duel Burr in the morning and he knows Burr is likely to kill him, so he's writing to get his affairs in order. Pulls double duty with Dark Reprise.
- "I am not throwing away my shot" and "Just you wait" for ambition.
- "He/I will never be satisfied," for obsession of any kind. "Satisfied" and satisfaction in general are recurrent — duels are resolved when one party is satisfied, etc., but the word is used to refer first to Alexander and Angelica's shared restlessness. Later, Angelica sings "God, I hope you're satisfied!" to call him out on publishing the Reynolds Pamphlet.
- "Would that be enough?" for (usually fruitless) attempts to quell obsession.
- "Talk less, smile more," Burr's advice to Hamilton.
- "If you stand for nothing, Burr, what do you fall for?" Hamilton's response to Burr's advice.
- "Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now" is repeated several times. At first, the first part of it is sung by Angelica, talking about how revolution is happening and they're lucky to be in New York to see it happen. Later it is sung by Eliza, regarding how they are at war and she and Hamilton are lucky to not be dead, and later it is sung by Hamilton, echoing the first meaning about how lucky they(he) are(is) to be involved in the birth of a new nation, and then it crops back up again in It's Quiet Uptown when Hamilton and Eliza are reconciling.
- "Helpless," Eliza's adoration for Hamilton, but it later means her helplessness to keep her with him, Maria's helplessness against her husband, and Alexander's own helplessness to stop his affair.
- "How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore..." Words that signify closure of one segment of a show and progression to another.
- "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9..." References to dueling...and to Hamilton's son.
- "History has its eyes on you," references to the prospect of a legacy.
- "Every action has its equal, opposite reaction" courtesy of Jefferson, pointing out unintended consequences and the many sides of history.
- "The world will never be the same" and "Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now" for the excitement of the revolution.
- "Wait for It" and "The Room Where It Happens" referring to Burr's ambitions.
- "the room where it happen(ed)" is also used to refer to the scene of Hamilton's infidelity.
- "Wait" in general is used repeatedly. Hamilton's "just you wait" mantra contrasting with Burr's "wait for it." And at the end when they switch philosophies for the duel it ends tragically. Burr's final "WAIT" comes too late.
- "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story," repeated throughout the show, is the central theme of the play.
- A more minor example, but King George's "Oceans rise, empires fall", which is repeated at the same point and in the same tone in all three of his songs. This is apparently meant to represent the hardships of leadership.
- Armor-Piercing Question:
- In "Aaron Burr, Sir", Hamilton asks "if you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?". It takes Burr half the play to find what he wants: he wants to be in the room where it happens.
- To Hamilton, in "Non-Stop", Burr asks "How do you write like you're running out of time? Are you running out of time?"
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sort of: From the opening lines of "Alexander Hamilton": "How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman..."
- Artistic License History: Even in a show as history-geeky as this one, a large number of things have inevitably been changed or compressed for dramatic effect.
- Artistic License Law: As mentioned on Genius, both Hamilton and Burr do this in "Non-Stop:"
- Hamilton mentions in his opening statement that he will "prove beyond a shadow of a doubt" that Levi Weeks is innocent. He's defense counsel; he only needs to introduce doubt against the prosecution's case, not prove his client's innocence to that impossible standard (remember, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty). Justified insofar as the concept of reasonable doubt was fairly new at the time. Indeed, as Hamilton notes, it was the first murder trial in the history of the nation. Not to mention that it's not exactly out of character for Hamilton to aim to prove their client innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt, even though he doesn't have to.
- Burr's ideal opening statement is "Our client, Levi Weeks, is innocent. Call your first witness." While succinct, his version is too short: the opening statement is intended to give your theory of the case and give jurors a "roadmap" of what to expect, not just "yeah, he's innocent."
- It is suggested that dueling was legal in New Jersey. This is false, although the penalties for dueling were lighter in New Jersey than they were in New York.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: In the following line, the word subject to Curse Cut Short is a swear word that, when used as a verb, can be slang for "having sex with":James Reynolds' letter to Hamilton: See, that was my wife you decided to- FUUU-
- Ass Shove: Implied by Hamilton in "Cabinet Battle #1":Sitting there useless as two shits
Hey, turn around, bend over, I'll show you
Where my shoe fits
- Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Played with (and also Played for Laughs) with the Battle of Monmouth. Washington keeps saying "attack!", while Charles Lee keeps saying "retreat!". This disorganized retreat and lack of order is what causes the Battle of Monmouth to be such a shit-show.
- Atomic F-Bomb:
- Hamilton drops a bleeped one against John Adams in "The Adams Administration", accompanied by the sound of a falling bomb, no less! Miranda actually posted the uncensored line to his Twitter account, and the line itself is somewhat...unexpected when unbleeped, to say the least.Hamilton: Sit down John, you fat motherfuckstick!
- Hamilton drops another one in Say No to This when Maria Reynolds' husband blackmails him.Reynolds: You see, that was my wife who you decided to
- Jefferson, Madison, and Burr shout "SOUTHERN MOTHERFUCKIN' DEMOCRATIC REPUBLICANS!" in "Washington on Your Side".
- Hercules Mulligan during his Badass Boast, "When you knock me down I get the fuck back up again, in "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)".
- An earlier version of "One Last Time" had Hamilton and Washington confronting the Whiskey Rebellion:Washington: You are outgunned!
Washington: Outnumbered, out—
Hamilton: Pay your fucking taxes!
- While not an F-bomb, Hamilton's response in Cabinet Battle #2 still applies because of his intensity.Hamilton: You must be outta your god damn mind!
- Hamilton drops a bleeped one against John Adams in "The Adams Administration", accompanied by the sound of a falling bomb, no less! Miranda actually posted the uncensored line to his Twitter account, and the line itself is somewhat...unexpected when unbleeped, to say the least.
- The Atoner: John Laurens. Although it's not mentioned in the play, he comes from a family of slaveowners and wants to rectify his legacy.
- Audience Surrogate: Madison in "The Election of 1800," after the drama of "It's Quiet Uptown" when Philip dies.Jefferson: Can we get back to politics?
Madison: [crying] Please?
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Hercules Mulligan.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning:
- Not a literal crowning, but "History Has Its Eyes On You", when Hamilton is finally given command. The song is quiet and subdued, but downright epic.
- As a meta example, when the show welcomes a new King George III, the entire cast is present for the coronation process, called the Order of the Garter, which tends to be extremely over-the-top. Invoked and subverted when Brian d'Arcy James, King George III the First, was crowned by Taran Killam, King George III the Fifth, received the most over-the-top coronation ceremony to date, while the video announcing James's return to the show was built up with much fanfare only to consist of Killam distractedly passing the crown to James as they passed each other backstage.
- Battle Rapping: "Cabinet Battle"s are framed as a rap battle between Hamilton and Jefferson.
- At the beginning of "Guns and Ships" (which is in the same style as "Alexander Hamilton" before it), Burr talks about the American army's secret weapon, "an immigrant you know and love, who's unafraid to step in." At first it seems he's talking about Hamilton, like he's been doing for the whole of the musical thus far, but then it turns out he's referring to Lafayette.
- By the time of "Stay Alive", Hamilton has expressed repeatedly that he wants command. During the battle of Monmouth, Washington calls up Hamilton after Lee screws up (Hamilton: "Ready, Sir!")... and has him instead run and get Lafayette to lead the battle.
- Batman Gambit: When Madison, Jefferson and Burr confront Hamilton, they're hoping that he will sabotage himself once they accuse him of speculating funds. Though they find out the truth is different, Hamilton ends up writing the death sentence to his political career as a result. Jefferson takes great pleasure in spreading the Reynolds Pamphlet.
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- Hamilton keeps goading Burr to take action and stand up for his beliefs. Burr then proceeds to run Hamilton's father-in-law out of a Senate seat and then becomes a potential presidential candidate.
- Philip Hamilton sings that he wants a little brother. After he dies, his younger brother is named Philip.
- Berserk Button:
- Don't call Hamilton stupid. He's not stupid. Also don't call him "son".Hamilton: Call me son ONE MORE TIME!
- Adams's firing and taunts about Hamilton piss Hamilton off so much that he goes on to write a very long, incredibly harsh (and ultimately, mostly cut from the final show) letter/rap in which he tears apart Adams. If the show is to be believed, it singlehandedly confined Adams to a single term and essentially ended his political career.
- During the first cabinet battle, Jefferson goes from cheerful and admiring Hamilton's skills to dead serious when Hamilton mocks him for being a slaver and using it against him.
- Philip Hamilton will do anything to protect his father's name, even challenge a much older man to a duel.
- Also cut from the show is Angelica's complete response to hearing the news of Hamilton's affair with Maria. Even in its reduced form in "The Reynolds Pamphlet", it still cuts incredibly deep. In both versions, Angelica claims to love Eliza more than anything, including her own needs and desires. From the cut song "Congratulations":Angelica: [sung, caring] Alexander... [spoken, bluntly and sarcastically] Congratulations.
- Don't call Hamilton stupid. He's not stupid. Also don't call him "son".
- Betty and Veronica:
- Sensual, vivacious Angelica (as Veronica) and her shy, sweet sister, Eliza (as Betty), with Hamilton as Archie. Hamilton marries Eliza, but his relationship with Angelica is still somewhat flirtatious. Sort of a subversion, as Angelica is still a perfectly kind woman, and she immediately steps aside when she realizes her sister is in love with Hamilton, too.
- The Vamp, Maria Reynolds, who's sent to seduce Hamilton so her husband can blackmail him, and his wife, Eliza. (Obviously, Maria is Veronica in this scenario.) While the affair nearly destroys their marriage, he ultimately ends up staying with Eliza, and genuinely regrets his affair.
- Big Applesauce: The musical takes place primarily in New York City. The Hamiltons live uptown at 139th St, Burr lived downtown near Wall Street, and you can still see Alexander, Eliza, and Angelica's graves at Trinity Church. Though all the songs drop references, "Alexander Hamilton", "The Schuyler Sisters", and "It's Quiet Uptown" most explicitly reference New York.
- Big Bad: While no character in the show is outright villainous (with the notable exception of George Eacker), there are a few major antagonists in the show.
- King George III is nominally this for Act 1, as the main backdrop of the first act is the American Revolution.
- Act 2 sees Jefferson and Madison in a Big Bad Duumvirate, as they are Hamilton's main political rivals seeking to destroy his reputation and career. Burr also becomes an antagonistic figure, and briefly joins Jefferson and Madison before becoming an independent foe late in the show, and ultimately is the one who kills Hamilton only to immediately regret it. However, none of these characters cause as much trouble for Hamilton as Hamilton himself thanks to his impulsiveness and desire to protect his legacy at any cost.
- Big "NO!":
- A rare ENSEMBLE instance, as they all do this during his affair with Maria Reynolds in "Say No To This."
- Burr gets one in "The Room Where It Happens."
- Eliza gets an anguished, heartbreaking one when Philip dies and hugs his body. This is only in the stage version.
- Big Secret: Alexander Hamilton is accused of financial corruption for giving so much money to a Mr. James Reynolds secretly, which he can't refute since the real reason he was paying the money is so James wouldn't tell everyone about his affair with Reynolds' wife. Unfortunately for Hamilton, revealing his Big Secret to everyone in lurid detail just to get out of what he is being accused of just makes things worse.
- Big Sister Instinct: Do not hurt Eliza; Angelica will find out and she will let you have it.
- Bilingual Bonus: While audience members will understand Lafayette's Oui, oui, mon ami, je m'appelle Lafayette, they may not know Casse toi means Piss off.
- Birth/Death Juxtaposition: The birth of Philip (and, by extension, the nation) is juxtaposed one song later by the death of Laurens. To drive the point home, these two characters are played by the same actor.
- Bittersweet Ending:
- At the end of the play, Hamilton has been shot, but the systems he put in place helped America to prosper, still existing to this day, and Eliza lives on to carry out his legacy and accomplish so much in her own right.
- The end of Angelica's story arc in the first act. She doesn't end up with Alexander whom she still holds a torch for, and the man she does marry doesn't mentally excite her as much, but he's still a good man who is financially well-off and ensures that she'll live in comfort for the rest of her life. And by historical accounts, she enjoyed her time in London and was well-regarded in the upper crust. Her storyline in second act deals with her getting over her feelings for Alexander due to his actions.
- Blasphemous Boast: Hamilton delivers one in "Hurricane".Hamilton And when my prayers to God were met with indifference, I picked up a pen! I wrote my own deliverance!
- Boastful Rap:
- Several of the characters like to preen about their own awesomeness, but Lafayette's part in "Guns and Ships" and Mulligan's part in "Yorktown" are of special mention.Mulligan: Hercules Mulligan, I need no introduction! When you knock me down I get the FUCK BACK UP AGAIN!
- Alexander has a brief one in "Hurricane" where he reflects on all the amazing things he's accomplished on the strength of his writing.
- Several of the characters like to preen about their own awesomeness, but Lafayette's part in "Guns and Ships" and Mulligan's part in "Yorktown" are of special mention.
- Body Motifs: Eyes.
- Angelica and Eliza sing about Alexander's beautiful eyes.
- "History has its eyes on you."
- Jefferson, Madison, and Burr point out Hamilton's deceptive eyes as one reason to suspect him in "Washington On Your Side".
- In reference to dueling, "Look 'em in the eye, aim no higher."
- Part of Alexander's final verse, "Eyes up!"
- Alexander describes his situation in "Hurricane" as being in the eye of the storm. He also says that while writing to earn passage to the mainland, the people of his hometown had their eyes on him.
- In the finale Eliza says she sees Alexander in the eyes of the orphans she helped raise after his passing.
- In the early version of "Ten Things You Need to Know" alluded to above, Alexander remarks that he hopes to return to Eliza's side before she opens her eyes in the morning.
- Bonding Over Missing Parents: Hamilton attempts this with Burr at their first meeting. Burr deflects this by buying Hamilton a drink.
- When Washington offers Hamilton the position as his aide-de-camp in "Right Hand Man", he holds out a quill, which Hamilton accepts along with the job. Later, in "One Last Time," Washington is stepping down after his second presidential term, and again offers Hamilton a quill with which to draft one last letter, this time a farewell address. Hamilton's work with Washington begins and ends with taking up the pen for his commanding officer.
- In "The Room Where It Happens", Hamilton tells Burr that he's going to start to do things Burr's way ('talk less, smile more'); in "The Election of 1800", Burr tells Hamilton that his new practice of going for what he wants was learned from Hamilton.
- King George's first and last songs bookend the first and last appearances of George Washington, outside of his appearance in the finale.
- Bowdlerize: The Disney+ release ditches all of the F-bombs but a plot-important one from Hamilton (which is permitted in a PG-13 film); overall, this trope is pretty downplayed in that none of the other profanity or suggestive content is censored.
- Break the Cutie:
- Philip Hamilton reads the Reynolds Pamphlet and is horrified on learning what his father did.
- "His poor wife" doesn't begin to describe Eliza's reaction to learning that her husband cheated on her and published a pamphlet about it.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- Jefferson gives a copy of the Reynolds Pamphlet to the conductor.
- In the very last moments of the musical, there's a subtle break when Eliza looks out and sees the audience.
- Aaron Burr tells the audience that Martha Washington named her tomcat after Alexander; Hamilton turns to the audience and nods, "that's true."note
- At the beginning of "The Election of 1800" Jefferson says "Can we get back to politics?" to which Madison responds "Please," while crying over the last few, exceptionally serious, songs about Philip Hamilton's death and The Reynolds Pamphlet.
- When Madison walks up to Jefferson during "What'd I Miss", Madison waves at the audience while Jefferson is introducing his character.
- Much of "The World Was Wide Enough," is addressed toward the audience, but in particular, regarding his duel with Hamilton when Burr sings, "They won't teach you this in your classes, but look it up, Hamilton was wearing his glasses" as well as "now I'm the villain in your history."
- During the cabinet battles Washington addresses both the chorus members on stage and the audience directly to introduce the battle scenario.Washington: Ladies and Gentlemen, you could have been anywhere in the world tonight, but you're here with us in New York City. Are you ready for a cabinet meeting?
- Breakup Bonfire: Happens in "Burn," sort of. Eliza and Hamilton stay married, but she withdraws from him because of his slight against her and she burns a number of his letters.
- Break-Up Song:
- King George's "You'll Be Back" is a passive-aggressive response to America's decision to break up with him.
- Eliza ends her romantic relationship with Hamilton in "Burn" after he publicly reveals his affair with Maria Reynolds, breaking her heart and humiliating her. (She eventually reconciles with him in "It's Quiet Uptown".)You forfeit all rights to my heart
You forfeit the place in our bed
You'll sleep in your office instead
With only the memories of when you were mine
- Brief Accent Imitation:
- Jefferson and Madison drop into faux Jamaican accents for a single line of "We Know", mocking Hamilton's immigrant origins (as Hamilton was born on the Caribbean island of Nevis).
- Hamilton briefly adopts Lafayette's French accent during "Yorktown."
- King George imitates a stereotypical American accent to say, "Awesome, wow," of "What Comes Next?"
- Hamilton briefly takes on a British accent when mocking Samuel Seabury in "Farmer Refuted".
- Lafayette imitates the American pronunciation of "Anarchy" in his verse in "My Shot" as a subtle way to get it to rhyme with both "Monarchy" and "panicky".
- Broken Pedestal:
- Whatever feelings Angelica still had for Alexander by the time the Reynolds Pamphlet came out were instantly killed off once she learned he cheated on Eliza.
- Averted when Philip Hamilton reads the Reynolds Pamphlet. In fact, he goes in the opposite direction, protecting his father against slanders that George Eacker makes.
- BSoD Song:
- Both Hamilton and Burr in the final duel — Burr furiously protesting his sincere belief that Hamilton meant to kill him and to make an orphan of his daughter, Hamilton blanking out in the face of the knowledge he's about to die. Burr is so frantic that it verges on a Sanity Slippage Song.
- Hamilton also has "It's Quiet Uptown," where he mourns Philip's death and Eliza's resignation from him.
- Burn Baby Burn: What Eliza did with the letters she wrote to Alexander during their courtship (in the aptly-titled song, "Burn".)
- Bus Crash:
- John Laurens dies offscreen in a post-war skirmish. Hamilton finds out about it from a letter.
- Peggy is implied to have died between Acts One and Two; when her sisters reunite during "Take a Break" and say their names in order, they note her absence with silence where "and Peggy" was in "The Schyuler Sisters".
- The earlier versions reveal that Burr's wife Theodosia passed away from sickness. He breaks down when breaking it down to Theodosia Jr.
- Call-and-Response Song: "Your Obedient Servant," which is comprised of Hamilton and Burr singing each other the passive-aggressive letters that lead up to their duel.
- Call-Back: Early on, Hamilton speculates that dying must be like "a beat without a melody". In the song where he duels Burr (The World Was Wide Enough), he begins rapping after the shot with no orchestral or choral backup.
- The Chains of Commanding: When Washington retires, King George states that he "wasn't aware" that giving up power "was something a person could do." It's left ambiguous whether he means that he's flummoxed at Washington's willingness to surrender control, or whether he's jealous that Washington is able to put down the burden of command. In real life, when George III was informed that Washington planned to return to private life immediately following the war, not seizing or even pursuing any kind of political power, he reportedly responded, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world."
- The Charmer: Both Hamilton and his son are very "reliable with the LADIES!"
- Chekhov's Gun: Literally. The dueling pistols used in Philip's duel and the ultimate Burr/Hamilton duel are hanging on the wall through the entire second act.
- Chekhov's Gunman: With Washington, Hamilton, and Lafayette the focus leading up to Yorktown, it's not until "Yorktown" that we learn they had a spy on the inside:note HERCULES MULLIGAN!!! This is actually mentioned first in "Right Hand Man," after Washington convinces Hamilton to join his staff and Hamilton starts listing what he can contribute.Hamilton: I've got some friends; Laurens, Mulligan, Marquis de Lafayette/We'll need some spies on the inside, some king's men who might let some things slide...
- Chess Motifs: References to the game feature a-plenty in the lyrics:
- "Knight takes rook", from "Right-Hand Man" (meaning British soldiers—i.e. knights taking Brooklyn—i.e. a castle).
- The outcome of the Battle of Monmouth is described as a "stalemate" in "Stay Alive".
- Burr notes that no one knows "the pieces that are sacrifices in every game of chess" when talking about the Residence Act of 1790 in "The Room Where It Happens".
- Hamilton calls the situation in France during the Revolution "a game of chess, where France is Queen and Kingless."
- Color Blind Casting: The only set rule in the original casting call is that King George has to be the Token White. Other than that, performers of any race/ethnicity can play the other principals.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
- Hamilton goes through a few color changes throughout the show. He is first seen as one of the ensemble members wearing white, switches to brown as a student, then joining Washington's army wearing regimental blue. Once he's a statesman he switches to green, and as he gets older, he wears black until the duel.
- Burr dresses in dark clothes to signify his status as an antagonist - this is especially noticeable during the opening number, when the entire company bar Burr is dressed in off-white.
- Maria Reynolds wears a blood-red gown and deep red lipstick to cement her as The Vamp.
- The Schuyler sisters are chromatically arranged: Angelica, the most outspoken sister and the clear leader, wears red; most of Eliza's outfits are blue, a color often associated with innocence and honesty; and Peggy, the youngest and quietest, wears yellow.
- Come Back to Bed, Honey: Nearly word for word in "Best of Wives and Best of Women".Eliza: Come back to bed, that would be enough.Alexander: I'll be back before you know I'm gone.Eliza: Come back to sleep.Alexander: This meeting's at dawn.Eliza: Well, I'm going back to sleep.
- Concept Album: Hamilton began as "The Hamilton Mixtape" before Miranda adapted it into a fully-fledged hip-hop musical.
- Contralto of Danger: The actress playing the youngest Schuyler sister, Peggy, is double-cast as the seductress Maria Reynolds. Peggy's notes are on the higher end of the mezzo range, reflecting her youth and good-girl nature, in contrast to Maria's low, sultry come-ons.
- Counterpoint Duet: "Farmer Refuted" skips the second step of this trope, but otherwise fits: first, we have Samuel Seabury singing about how the American people should not be tempted into revolution (with a couple of short interjections by the other characters), and then he sings the same verse again, but this time with Hamilton's much faster rapped response layered on top, written such that sometimes he says the same word or sound at the same time as Seabury. As an example, here are the first two lines, with the simultaneous common sounds bolded:Seabury: Heed not the rabble who scream, revolution! They have not your interests at heart.
Hamilton: He'd have you all unravel at the sound of screams but the revolution is coming, the have-nots are gonna win this, it's hard to listen to you with a straight face!
- Crazy Enough to Work: On a meta level, the whole musical. A sung-through musical... based on the life of a Founding Father... and not even one of the most well-known ones... with rap, hip-hop, and R&B music... and an almost entirely POC cast playing white (and, historically, usually quite racist) historical figures. Even people who thought it sounded like it'd be good didn't really expect it to be as successful as it has been. And this includes the cast, by the way. Reportedly, Daveed Diggs' first reaction after Lin-Manuel Miranda pitched the idea to him was, "That's a terrible idea. Send me the script."
- Credits Gag: In the recording for the cast album, Laurens, Lafayette and Mulligan's drumming on the table in Aaron Burr, Sir wasn't loud enough to be audible in the audio; to remedy this, producer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson assisted by drumming on his desk. He was credited for this in the liner notes, with the note that "Questlove exclusively plays ModernCre8ve Table 001 April Writing Desk Series."
- Crowd Song: "My Shot" starts off as a solo "I Want" Song from the titular character before his friends join in, and then all of colonial New York, showing the spread of Revolutionary fervor that Hamilton spearheaded.
- Curse Cut Short:
- From "The Adams Administration": "Sit down, John, you fat motherf— bleep!"
- In "Say No To This", an f-bomb in Reynolds' blackmail letter is cut off by Hamilton's groan of horror and Reynolds' own cheerful "uh-oh!" (however, in the workshop recording, it's an uninterrupted "FUCK!" on Ham's part, cementing the double meaning even more. When Burr reads the same letter in "We Know", the curse is cut off in both versions by Jefferson's combination Flat "What"/Big "WHAT?!".
- Dances and Balls: Hamilton and the Schuyler sisters meet at a ball during The American Revolution.
- Dark Reprise: Unsurprising, considering the heavy use of sung/rapped Arc Words.
- The best example is probably "Ten Duel Commandments." The first duel has no real consequences for the protagonists, while the next two end much worse. The final section of "The World Was Wide Enough" reprises snippets of most of Hamilton's songs as he prepares himself for death.
- "The Story of Tonight" also gets a bit of a Dark Reprise when Laurens dies.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda revealed that there was a cut song that was a Dark Reprise of "Dear Theodosia," where Burr has to tell Theodosia the younger about her mother's death.
- "Your Obedient Servant" is one for both the "how does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore..." sequence and "The Room Where It Happens". Burr, angry that Hamilton has ruined his presidential bid, sings the entire thing with ill-contained rage.
- The beginning of "Say No To This" features Burr singing a somber and quiet version of his second set of verses from "The Schuyler Sisters," starting with the line, "There's nothing like summer in the city." In "The Schuyler Sisters," Burr cheerfully sings it as he tries to court Angelica. Here, it's used as the foreboding introduction to Hamilton's downward spiral after meeting Maria.
- "It's Quiet Uptown" is this for "That Would Be Enough." In the latter, Eliza and Alexander are Happily Married, expecting their first child, and Eliza is begging Alexander to stay with her and not worry so much for their legacy. In the former, Alexander cheating on Eliza has made them distant, they're grieving for Philip, and Alexander is begging Eliza to just stay with him.
- The "Stay Alive" reprise is one for "Take a Break," namely when Philip and Eliza count the musical scales in French. Especially when Philip dies on the seventh note, the same note that he would keep changing as a nine-year old with his mother.
- "Best of Wives, Best of Women" is one for "It's Quiet Uptown" as Hamilton prepares to die in the duel with Burr and sets his papers in order.
- The first "look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now" in The Schuyler Sisters was pure joy, but then it gets turned into a motif for Eliza when she keeps trying to get her husband to stop ignoring his family starting in "That Would be Enough" where Hamilton learns of Philip being conceived. Hamilton himself desperately reprises the first part of the lines as he pleads with Eliza during "It's Quiet Uptown" soon after Philip's death.
- Burr's section of "The World Was Wide Enough" after shooting Hamilton has him singing darker, remorseful versions of bars from "Wait for It". Miranda, the writer, also revealed it was originally an even Darker Reprise of an already-dark song depicting Washington's death, though the song was cut for redundancy.
- Speaking of the aforementioned death song for Washington (which is a Dark Reprise of One Last Ride, the original version of One Last Time), that was released by Lin publicly in December 2018.
- Dashed Plotline: Given that this is a play covering three decades in the titular character's life in one play, there is heavy use of the Time Skip throughout both acts and one major Time Skip in between the two acts.
- Deal with the Devil: Aaron Burr views Hamilton "selling the capital" of our nation to Jefferson and Madison as this, in that Hamilton compromises to build the capital in Virginia with the banks there. Jefferson's main concern was that the banks would increase debt, exploit farmers, and increase Hamilton's political power. By having the banks in his home territory, he can keep an eye on them.
- Death Song:
- "Tomorrow There'll Be More Of Us," in a Dark Reprise of "Story of Tonight," sees Hamilton receive a letter about the death of John Laurens.
- "One Last Time" details President Washington's departure from office, but it emphasizes saying goodbye to Washington, and marks the last time the audience hears from Washington before his death. There was once a Grief Song for Washington but it was cut for redundancy with "One Last Time." However, Lin later released it.
- "Stay Alive (Reprise)" is one for Philip, which is made clear when the Heartbeat Soundtrack cuts off as the character in question stops responding to others.
- "The World Was Wide Enough" details the duel between Hamilton and Burr, with the latter striking the former right between his ribs. As the bullet hits him, Hamilton even gets to give a soliloquy on whether he's ready to die.
- Deliberately Jumping the Gun: A tragic variation late into the play ends up killing a main character in a duel gone wrong. In a duel where the competitors shoot on the count of ten, George Eacker shoots Alexander Hamilton's son at the number seven, even though Hamilton's son clearly motioned that he was going to shoot his gun into the air and forfeit the duel.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance:
- Slavery is still legal, and while some characters are abolitionists, some are slaveholders. Noteworthy is that Hamilton doesn't chew out Washington for owning slaves the way he chews out Jefferson, in part because Washington doesn't promote hypocritical values in the Cabinet Battles regarding the South but Jefferson does.
- Duels may be "dumb and immature" but they're used to resolve matters of honor. The laws surrounding them keep changing; they're legal in New Jersey, or ubiquitous enough to escape the lawman's eyes, and the opponent who fires cannot approach his opponent, even to assist him.
- Having an affair isn't illegal, but a man admitting to having an affair would subject his wife to shame, especially if she were middle or upper class.
- Dirty Coward:
- George Eacker, who shoots Philip at the count of seven, not ten during their duel.
- Charles Lee tries to retreat during the Battle of Monmouth, almost causing the Americans a major defeat. Then he had the nerve to be indignant about George Washington replacing him with Lafayette.Washington: Everyone attack!
Washington: What are you doing, Lee?! Get back on your feet!
Lee: But there's so many of them!
Washington: I'm sorry, is this not your speed?! Hamilton!
Hamilton: Ready, sir!
Washington: Have Lafayette take the lead!
- Disappeared Dad: Both Hamilton and Burr's fathers weren't around for various reasons. In "Dear Theodosia", they both promise Philip and Theodosia, respectively, that they won't be this trope. In both the show and real life, they keep their promises.
- Domestic Abuse: Maria Reynolds wasn't lying when she said that her husband was mistreating her. This is why Hamilton takes pity on her initially.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The musical came about when Miranda realized that the life of Alexander Hamilton was similar in many ways to the classic hip-hop Anti-Hero narrative about a young man from an impoverished and socially unrespected background clawing himself to a position of power and influence in a revolutionary environment, only to meet a violent downfall following betrayal and conflict with those around him.
- Doting Parent: Both Hamilton and Burr to their children Philip and Theodosia, respectively.
- Do Wrong, Right:
- As Hamilton tells Jefferson, Madison and Burr, he did have an affair with a married woman and paid her husband Blackmail money but he wouldn't break the law to do so.
- Cut Song chews out Hamilton for writing the Reynolds Pamphlet about his affair with Maria Reynolds since Thomas Jefferson met similar accusations about Sally Hemings, but due to Jefferson not responding to the taunts, his reputation went unsullied. Angelica in her
- Drunken Song: "The Story Of Tonight (Reprise)," in which the main crew celebrate Hamilton's new marriage rather spiritedly. (In addition, Laurens is even drunk back when he introduces "Satisfied", possibly as a subtle Drowning My Sorrows over Hamilton's marriage, given that some performances have him and Angelica share a meaningful glance right before the event.)Lafayette: Raise a glass to freedom! (Hey!)
Laurens and Mulligan: Something you will never see again!
Mulligan: No matter what she tells you!
Lafayette: Let's have another round tonight!
Laurens: Raise a glass to the four of us! (Ho!)
Mulligan: To the newly not poor of us! (Ahhh!)
Lafayette: We'll tell the story of tonight!
Mulligan: Let's have another round...
- The original "The Story of Tonight" also counts as the crew are all drinking while introducing themselves.
- Duel to the Death: Three of them happen during the course of the play (though nobody actually dies in the first one), including the final duel with Burr.
- Enemy Mine: As per history, Hamilton endorses Thomas Jefferson's presidential bid, mostly because he doesn't trust Burr's total lack of convictions. He may hate Jefferson's ideals, but at least Jefferson has ideals.Hamilton: I have never agreed with Jefferson once
We have fought on like seventy-five different fronts
but when all is said and all is done
Jefferson has beliefs—Burr has none.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- Thomas Jefferson has his reasons for opposing Hamilton—but Jefferson isn't above trashing Hamilton for being an immigrant, his former lack of money or family name, or his fashion sense. Jefferson is cheerfully gloating over Hamilton being removed from the government when this happens.Chorus: Adams fires Hamilton
privately calls him creole bastard in his taunts.
Jefferson: ... say what.
- Also Jefferson's main criticism of Hamilton refusing to give aid to France lie in the fact that Lafayette risked his life for the colonies to win their freedom, and that Hamilton is acting like an Ungrateful Bastard.
- Madison cries when Philip dies and Jefferson expresses sympathy by saying "Poor Hamilton". They attack him on other fronts, but they are not going to kick down a man who has lost his son.
- Thomas Jefferson has his reasons for opposing Hamilton—but Jefferson isn't above trashing Hamilton for being an immigrant, his former lack of money or family name, or his fashion sense. Jefferson is cheerfully gloating over Hamilton being removed from the government when this happens.
- Exiled to the Couch: Mentioned. After learning about Hamilton's affair, Eliza sings "You'll sleep in your office instead".
- Fatal Flaw: Hamilton wearing his anger "on his sleeve" and refusing to apologize for any of his actions to others. It not only costs him a political career, but also his life when he refuses to apologize to Burr for costing him the presidential election.
- Hamilton's obsession with his honor and legacy cause him to prioritize these things over his family and even his life.
- "Hurricane" demonstrates how Hamilton's greatest strengths — his honesty and his writing ability — become his tragic weaknesses, when he concludes that he can write his way out of anything and decides to create the Reynolds Pamphlet to preemptively clear his name.
- Feghoot: The whole story about Hamilton punching the bursar was made up just to make a pun with "Burr, sir."
- Flashback Echo: "Satisfied" is this in song form, with Angelica flashing back to the night Hamilton and Eliza met on the day of their wedding.
- Flat "What":
- Hamilton's reaction to George Washington announcing that he's stepping down.
- As noted above, Jefferson's reaction to Adams' slur against Hamilton.
- Burr and Hamilton are both Child Prodigy orphans who worked hard to accomplish their goals, practiced law after the war. That said, Hamilton isn't afraid to speak his mind and is loyal to his family, with some exceptions, while Burr thinks it's better to "talk less, smile more, don't let them know what you're against or what you're for" and to seize any opportunity no matter the cost. Also, while Hamilton dies and is generally viewed as a "hero," thanks to Eliza, Burr for the rest of his life carries the reputation of being Hamilton's murderer and the Vice President that tried to annex Mexico.
- Lafayette sacrificed his comfortable life in France to help out the Americans, even insisting he would work for the army without pay. When Lafayette returns to France, Thomas Jefferson, who was "getting high with the French" and avoiding the war after writing the Declaration, takes his place on the stage as Hamilton's enemy. Jefferson is also a Karma Houdini in regards to being a slaveholder while Lafayette gets imprisoned during the French Revolution despite his hard work in bringing democracy to the country. It's no surprise that Daveed Diggs plays both of these characters, two sides of the same coin.
- Foregone Conclusion: The opening number reveals numerous characters and events from the rest of the musical, including Hamilton's friends, enemies, loved ones, his role as a founding father of the United States, the death of his son, his eventual disgrace, and being shot by Aaron Burr.
Narrator: His enemies destroyed his rep; America forgot him.Two men: We fought with him.noteYoung man: Me, I died for him.noteDistinguished gentleman: Me, I trusted him.noteThree women: Me, I loved him. noteNarrator: And me, I'm the damn fool who shot him.note
- Near the end of the opening number, "Alexander Hamilton," most of the cast explain their relationships to Hamilton in ways that foreshadow the rest of the play:
- During "A Winter's Ball", Angelica can be seen still watching Hamilton after he flirts with her. This is expanded upon in "Satisfied".
- Eliza's delighted "I do" she repeats at the beginning of "Helpless" foreshadows her marriage to Hamilton by the end of the song.
- Philip Schuyler is pretty stone-faced when Hamilton asks for his blessing to marry Eliza, but when he acquiesces, he does so with the simple, "Be true". It's implied Philip already noticed Hamilton's hunger and wandering eye, which leads Hamilton to disastrous results in Act 2.
- Hamilton assures Lafayette before the Battle of Yorktown that if they win the American Revolution, the Americans will come to the aid of the French in their own Revolution. Lafayette quickly changes the subject and tells Hamilton to go lead his men. It's implied Lafayette doesn't think America will be able to aid them, which comes to pass in the second Cabinet Battle.
- Lots of foreshadowing from Burr and Hamilton on how their relationship is fated to sour, the first instance being "fools who run their mouths off wind up dead".
- In "You'll Be Back", King George sings "When you're gone, I'll go mad..." By the end of his final number, I Know Him, he is indeed Laughing Mad.
- When the Americans win their independence, King George III asks if the Americans know what they're getting themselves into founding their own government that they have to run. Sure enough, Act 2 revolves largely around the chaotic political feuds between the parties in the new nation.
- One of Burr's lines in Non-Stop:Burr: Soon that attitude may be your doom.
- A muttered line in "Aaron Burr, Sir" that becomes absolutely chilling once you know what happens to Laurens.Burr: Fools who run their mouths off wind up dead.
Laurens: Yo yo yo yo yo! What time is it?
Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan: Show time!
Burr: Like I said
- From The Room Where It Happens:Burr: The Mercer legacy is secure
Burr: And all he had to do was die.
Hamilton: That's a lot less work.
Burr: We oughta give it a try.
- During "Ten Duel Commandments", Hamilton and Burr speak to each other on the same rotating platform that Laurens and Lee stand on as they prepare to duel, no doubt hinting at their inevitable showdown.
- Friendship Song: "The Story of Tonight" for Hamilton, Laurens, Lafayette, and Mulligan, who toast to their friendship and experiences.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Burr isn't very popular with Hamilton's crew in Act 1. While Hamilton is delighted to see Burr made it to his wedding, his friends mock Burr and Lafayette outright calls him "the worst". In Act 2, when Burr joins the Southern Democratic-Republicans, Jefferson and Adams barely pay him any mind and only accept him into their inner circle due to Burr's strong desire to end Hamilton's career. The moment Burr becomes a rival to Jefferson is the moment Burr loses any respect from the party.
- From Bad to Worse: The minute Hamilton says "Macbeth", all of his decisions have disastrous consequences. His refusal to take a break with his family and subsequent affair with Maria Reynolds starts a chain of events that leads to his career destroyed and Philip's death. Giving Jefferson the endorsement needed to win the presidential election and his refusal to apologize leads to his death.
- Fun with Homophones: In "We Know":Hamilton: I never spent a cent that wasn't mine, you sent the dogs after my scent, that's fine.
- Funny Background Event: In "Satisfied", as Angelica is singing her solo, Lafayette is getting ready to talk to her before Alexander shoos him off.
- The Ghost:
- John Adams is never seen in the musical, despite being much discussed (and much maligned). Other Founding Fathers not appearing in the musical are Ben Franklin and John Jay, though they are mentioned.
- Franklin's absence is a deliberate one on the part of the author. An earlier draft included a solo for Ben as he charmed French ladies and drummed up support for the Revolution, but Miranda discovered that Franklin would take over any play he was in and decided it was better to leave him on the sidelines.
- Theodosia Burr is never shown in the play, but is mentioned several times (as is her mother), and her father has an entire scene dedicated to doting on her. The workshop version even had a reprise of this song.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Subverted. Angelica (fierce, witty Smart) and Eliza (sweet, demure Pretty) develop feelings for the same man, but they are the best of friends and always look out for each other.
- Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!: The revolutionaries, as per history. Hamilton and Laurens in particular are ardent abolitionists and perfectly fine with dying in battle, which Laurens eventually does. Subverted with Burr, who wants freedom but does mind dying.
- Give My Regards in the Next World: The Tear Jerker version.Alexander: Eliza! My love, take your time. I'll see you on the other side.
- Gold Digger: The Schuyler sisters have to worry about this when they encounter men in the city, and Angelica mentions that as the oldest she has to marry upper class to keep her family name. Burr after making an ass of himself in front of Angelica tries to assure her that he has a trust fund so she can "trust" him. This is also why Angelica initially hesitates after meeting Hamilton, since he certainly has that motive as a poor college student.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery:
- Hamilton's mother was called a "whore" and his father was already married to another woman, leaving Alexander's family when Alexander and his brother James were only children. Alexander takes his mother's side and doesn't like father figures as a result, though he promises to be a better one to Philip.
- Ironically, it's Aaron Burr who is portrayed as the Sympathetic Adulterer in his pursuit of Theodosia Sr. Hamilton on hearing that Theodosia is married to a British officer encourages Burr to go get her.
- Meanwhile, Angelica marries a man she doesn't love and flirts with Alexander using punctuation in their letters. With that said, she never does a thing with Hamilton because she loves her sister more than life itself and would never hurt Eliza.
- When Hamilton actually cheats on Eliza, and then in a stupid move (as Angelica puts it), decides to write about it in "The Reynolds Pamphlet," it destroys his political career and his marriage because everyone is horrified at not only the adultery but also his cojones at putting it in print, destroying any Plausible Deniability.
- Good-Looking Privates: Mentioned, why else would Eliza consider a winter's ball with a bunch of soldiers a "hot night"? This is the same ball in which she falls in love with Alexander, who was then a rebel soldier.
- Government Procedural: The first half of Act II has the form of this, with Hamilton debating with Jefferson in the cabinet and maneuvering to get his financial plan passed.
- Grief Song: "It's Quiet Uptown," as Eliza and Alexander grieve Philip.
- He Also Did: In-universe. Burr works a mention of how Hamilton founded the Coast Guard and the New York Post into "The Adams Administration".
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: At the end of "Stay Alive (Reprise)," as Philip dies. This also pops up in the later song "The World Was Wide Enough" when Hamilton dies.
- Heaven Above: Just before his death, Hamilton desperately cries "Rise up" as if to indicate what direction he will be going in if he dies. Shortly before that, time freezes as the bullet is about to strike Hamilton's ribs and he talks about seeing his dead friends and family "on the other side." As he says their names, his best friend, his son, his mother, and his father figure all walk across the balcony across the stage, implying this "other side" is above Hamilton.
- The Hecate Sisters: The Schuyler sisters: Firstborn Angelica is the intelligent, fierce crone, middle sister Eliza is sweet and motherly, while Peggy (in her only singing appearance) is the young, demure maid. Ironically, the actress playing Peggy also plays Maria, the resident seductress.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: In "The World Was Wide Enough" Burr states his reasons for shooting Hamilton between the ribs; Hamilton was wearing his glasses and thus prepared to take deadly aim. While Hamilton has Eliza to watch their children, Burr's daughter Theodosia has no one else and would become an orphan. When he realizes that Hamilton shoots into the sky, meaning he didn't want to kill Burr, Burr screams "Wait!" and tries to go help him but can't due to the dueling rules. As a result Burr is vilified through history for killing Hamilton, and his subsequent decisions in life are less-than-savory, such as marrying a woman and running off with her money.
- "The Hero Sucks" Song:
- "The Reynolds Pamphlet," in which several characters decry Alexander for publishing the titular pamphlet.
- The beginning of "Your Obedient Servant," in which Burr seethes about Alexander preventing his presidency.
- "Burn", Eliza putting her foot down over Alexander's affair and her public humiliation.
- In the original off-Broadway version, "Congratulations" is essentially about how Hamilton publicizing the Reynolds Pamphlet was an incredibly stupid and short-sighted move, and how Hamilton is too rash in general.
- Heroic BSoD: Eliza undergoes this after Philip's death, spending the majority of It's Quiet Uptown with a blank expression, standing immobile and ignoring Hamilton's desperate attempts to talk to her and reach her.
- His Own Worst Enemy: Angelica calls Hamilton this in the cut song "Congratulations."Angelica: Always so scared of what your enemies will do to you, youre the only enemy you ever seem to lose to.
- Historical Domain Character: Every named character is a real historical figure who was involved in Hamilton's life somehow.
- Historical Fiction: From the beginnings of The American Revolution until the early 1800s.
- Historical Hero Upgrade:
- The show makes much of Alexander Hamilton's anti-slavery stance to make him sympathetic and likable. Historians note that the real Hamilton never made any significant speeches or proposed any real policies to clamp down on slavery, and that his abolitionism was more a token gesture than anything concrete, with historian Eric Foner noting that while some might argue Hamilton had issues with slavery, for most of his life, elitism and property rights were far more important issues. The Schuyler family was a slaveowning family and Hamilton negotiated, on occasion, the sale and acquisition of slaves and runaways for the family. In addition, for all that the play emphasizes Hamilton's immigrant success story, in real-life he made it harder for immigrants to find property and voting rights. His support for the Alien and Sedition Acts is ignored, while his feud with John Adams (which largely destroyed the Federalist Party) is only mentioned in passing. As Sean Willentz notes, Hamilton was a man of the "1%" and not a populist hero.
- Washington is portrayed the most sympathetically, even though like Jefferson he owns slaves and was classist in his early years as general. Nevertheless, in all of his songs he comes off as a Reasonable Authority Figure who treats Hamilton with firm kindness and thinks of the country's good. Washington is generally regarded more lightly regarding slavery, because he released his slaves upon his death, which few of the other Founding Fathers did.
- Hercules Mulligan was a spy, but so was his slave Cato, who was Adapted Out of the musical since it would be awkward to have John Laurens sing about abolition when one of his drinking buddies happens to own a slave. Also ironic is that the spy who was actually responsible for giving Washington the information necessary to win at Yorktown and thus end the war was not Mulligan but another slave named James Armistead. Doubly ironic is that Armistead later added "Lafayette" to his name because of the Frenchman's tireless efforts to secure his freedom after the war, while in the play Lafayette's abolitionism remains implied at best.
- Possibly Angelica; some historians suggest that she didn't just fantasize about being with Hamilton and joke about sharing him with Eliza, but that the two actually had an affair. In the play, she has feelings for him but won't even consider betraying her sister. The play also suggests that she sacrificed herself in a "loveless" marriage, but in actuality, she and her husband eloped because her father didn't approve of him—she didn't marry from a sense of duty. As with the rest of the Schuylers, her family's slaveowning is glossed over.
- Historical Villain Upgrade:
- Burr in the play expects that, because he killed Hamilton, history's view of his life will be unfairly negative:Burr: History obliterates. In every picture it paints, it paints me in all my mistakes.
When Alexander aimed at the sky, he may have been the first one to die. But I'm the one who paid for it.
I survived, but I paid for it. Now I'm the villain in your history.
- Despite Burr's Anti Villainous portrayal, historians such as Nancy Isenberg still criticize it for glossing over views and accomplishments that Hamilton protested but modern audiences would favor. Burr created institutions to provide loans for the poor, and he campaigned to expand voting rights to the poor, a point on which Hamilton loathed him for. As noted by Gore Vidal and several others, while Hamilton was an immigrant and Burr an aristocrat in background, the former defended property and elite rights, while the latter expanded rights for the common man. Likewise, Burr publicly expressed support for women's suffrage and also played a part in abolishing slavery in New York. The play stresses Hamilton's support for manumission of slaves, but does not mention Burr's more substantial involvement in anti-slavery organizations at the same time (he and Hamilton were both members of the New York Manumission Society in the 1780s during its efforts to emancipate slaves in New York).
- Jefferson actually comes off the worst, due to being a major opponent of Hamilton's and having several songs that highlight his hypocrisy over the issue of slavery. While the latter isn't unjustified from a modern perspective, by downplaying Washington's slave-owning and Hamilton's own involvement (however peripheral) in the slave trade, it makes Jefferson seem almost uniquely hypocritical rather than typical of his time and place in his ambivalence towards slavery.note In real-life as a President he did abolish America's participation in the international slave trade in 1807, but that comes after the timeline of the show. Likewise, no mention is made of his support for the rights of the poor and for religious freedom, both positions Hamilton opposed.
- King George III, who gets this a lot in American media for obvious reasons, is probably the largest victim of this. The real King George III was considered to be a fairly benevolent monarch for his time, and most of the repressive policies blamed on him were the doing of George's ministers and Parliament; in the play, however, he's a Card-Carrying Villain tyrant. Given his Large Ham tendencies, this was likely done for Rule of Funny.
- Burr in the play expects that, because he killed Hamilton, history's view of his life will be unfairly negative:
- Homoerotic Subtext: John Laurens and Alexander Hamilton are written as unusually attracted to each other, in reference to historical suspicion that they had some type of sexual relationship.
- Honor Before Reason:
- Lampshaded by Burr and Hamilton in "The Ten Duel Commandments."Burr: Can we agree that duels are dumb and immature?
Hamilton: Sure, but your man has to answer for his words, Burr.
Burr: With his life? We both know that's absurd, sir.
Hamilton: Hang on; how many men died because Lee was inexperienced and ruinous?
Burr: Okay, so we're doing this.
- Hamilton would rather die than fire his gun at someone after the war, even in self-defense.
- Lampshaded by Burr and Hamilton in "The Ten Duel Commandments."
- Hypocrite: Burr pursues Theodosia, who was married to a British officer until said officer's death, but he helps spread the Reynolds Pamphlet with Jefferson and Madison when Alexander writes it, confessing to an extramarital affair. Zig-Zagged in that he's horrified along with Jefferson and Madison when first hearing about the affair from Alexander. Also, while he defeated Philip Schuyler, Sr. for a senatorial position and strained his friendship with Alexander, he has the gall to be offended when Alexander supports Jefferson instead of him, with Alexander pointing out that Burr has shown himself to be a man with no stances or loyalties.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- Burr tells Hamilton to "talk less, smile more" but he does Open Mouth, Insert Foot when attempting to flirt with Angelica, saying that she "smells of money". To no one's surprise, Angelica tells Burr he disgusts her and blows him off.
- Jefferson often insults Hamilton for his sense of fashion, claiming he dresses like "fake royalty"- while he himself is the one in the bright purple coat.
- "I Am" Song:
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In this case, Angelica decides that her beloved sister Eliza to be happy with her beloved Alexander.
- "I Want" Song:
- "My Shot" is this as well as "I Am" Song for Hamilton and his friends.
- The straightest example of this is "The Room Where It Happens" for Aaron Burr. It is also worth noting that, while most characters (in any musical) sing their "I Want" songs early in the show, Burr's doesn't come until we're a fair ways into the second act. This is a reflection on his "Talk less, smile more, don't let them know what you're against or what you're for" personality. He doesn't reveal what he actually wants until we're nearing the end.Chorus: What do you want, Burr? What do you want, Burr?
- Inadequate Inheritor: George III points out that John Adams doesn't seem as capable of holding the young United States together as George Washington.George III: President John Adams...good luck!
- Incoming Ham:
- "EVERYONE GIVE IT UP FOR AMERICA'S FAVORITE FIGHTIN' FRENCHMAN!" Enter Lafayette.
- "SILENCE! A MESSAGE FROM THE KING!"
- "HERE COMES THE GENERAL!"
- "We had a spy on the inside!" "That's right: HERCULES MULLIGAN!"
- "Thomas Jefferson's coming home! Thomas Jefferson's coming home!"
- Inconveniently Vanishing Exonerating Evidence: Eliza's response to the Reynolds Pamphlet is to burn the letters between herself and Alexander during their courtship.Eliza: I'm burning the memories, I'm burning the letters that might have redeemed you.
- Insult Backfire:Angelica: Burr, you disgust me.
Burr: Ah, so you've discussed me!
- Ironic Echo:
- "I am not throwing away my shot" takes on a much different meaning at the end. Hamilton attempts to delope during his duel with Burr, the way he'd previously advised his son to do, and Burr shoots him anyway.
- "Just you wait" is sung by Alexander in the opening number to show his ambition and drive. But later during "Non-Stop" the chorus repeats this phrase while Alexander is singing "I am not throwing away my shot" foreshadowing Alexander's decision at the end of the play to throw away his shot in the duel.
- The first time Burr sings about "the room where it happens", he means the room where the meeting deciding the location of the nation's capital was held. The next time he sings about "the room where it happens", he's referring to something a little more ambitious... more like the Oval Office.
- "You knock me (down/out), I fall apart." First heard in "Dear Theodosia", where Burr and Hamilton are expressing their awestruck affection for their young children; next heard in "It's Quiet Uptown", when Hamilton is completely psychologically devastated by the death of his teenage son.
- Also from "Dear Theodosia" the line "someday you'll blow us all away" is later the title and chorus of the song where Philip is shot (blown away) in a duel. And though it is not mentioned in the show there is an ironic meaning for Burr as well since his daughter, Theodosia, died when her ship was lost at sea, most likely in a storm.
- Hamilton's line "I imagine death so much it feels like a memory" is first heard in "My Shot," then again in the opening line of "Yorktown", and finally in "The World Was Wide Enough" during the duel when Burr's bullet is headed towards him.
- "Helpless" initially refers to Eliza's girlish love for Hamilton, but it's later used in a more unhappy context in "Non-Stop" when he chooses public service over her and their family, and then used again by Hamilton with regards to his affair and how he can't stop the snowballing consequences. "Burn" is all about her taking charge of herself and shedding the "helpless" mentality.
- "Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now" in "The Schuyler Sisters" is initially sung joyfully to represent the excitement of the revolution. In "That Would Be Enough" it takes on new meaning that Eliza and Hamilton are lucky to be alive in the midst of deaths caused by the war. In "Non-Stop" Hamilton uses Eliza's line against her to justify leaving to joining Washington's cabinet. In "It's Quiet Uptown", Hamilton sings it in an attempt to console Eliza about their son's death.
- "Wait For It" is echoed twice, tauntingly by Hamilton in "The Room Where It Happens" and, heartbreakingly Burr screams "Wait!" when Hamilton aims his pistol at the sky, after it's too late and he's already fired. The following conclusion of the song is a Dark Reprise of "Wait For It" detailing how his actions killed Hamilton and ruined his own career and reputation.
- "See you on the other side." Hamilton first says to Lafayette during "Yorktown(The World Turned Upside Down)". Just as Burr fires his gun in the duel, Hamilton imagines seeing Eliza one last time, and says to her, "Eliza, my love! Take your time! I'll see you on the other side!"
- During the show's off-Broadway run at The Public, "One Last Time" was called "One Last Ride" and had verses about the Whiskey Rebellion with ironic echos of "Right Hand Man."Washington: You are outgunned!
Washington: Outnumbered, outplanned!
Hamilton: Pay your fucking taxes!
Washington: Put your guns down on my command!
- Hamilton refuses to go with Eliza, Angelica, and his children on a holiday because he has too much work to do, even though Eliza's encouraging him to "Take a Break," with romantic implications. Come the next song, stressed in New York, he takes pity on a woman suffering Domestic Abuse and sleeps with her.
- Likewise, Hamilton insists to Burr, Madison and Jefferson that he did not sully his reputation by speculating with government funds. Come the publication of the Reynolds Pamphlet, which Hamilton wrote, he just does that and ruins his marriage.
- There's a case combined with a healthy dose of hypocrisy on Burr's part. When Burr and Hamilton are seconds for the Laurens-Lee duel, Burr says that while Lee's actions to undermine Washington's leadership were wrong, it is absurd for a man to have to pay for his words with his life. Years later Hamilton undermines Burr's Presidential aspirations with words, and as a result Burr will first challenge and then kill Hamilton in their duel.
- "What'd I Miss?" is Jefferson singing about "there is no more status quo" and he "can't believe we are finally free"...at Monticello, his plantation, while the chorus all wear black ribbons around their necks to indicate they're his slaves.
- It Will Never Catch On: When Hamilton proposes writing the Federalist Papers, Burr dismisses them by saying that "no one will read it." In reality, of course, as a unique insight into the intentions of the founding fathers, the Federalist Papers went on to become the single document most frequently cited by the US Supreme Court.
- It's All About Me:
- Hamilton believes that Burr is like this, having no principles and caring only about self-promotion and power. It's why he encourages the electors to vote for Jefferson since at least Jefferson has stances that are clear.
- In "Burn", Eliza accuses Alexander of acting this way by publishing the Reynolds papers, probably rightly so as he was only thinking of his career and clearing his name, rather than the impact it would have on her reputation and how much it would hurt her.Eliza: And you are paranoid in every paragraph
How they perceive you... You, you, you!
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Burr in "My Shot" tells Lafayette, Mulligan, Laurens, and Hamilton to keep their voices down because if they are speaking about rebelling against the British government, they may very well get "shot."
- While Hamilton seems mercenary for not offering help to Lafayette during the French Revolution, especially since they were friends, he points out that the previous treaty with France was with a monarch that the people have overthrown, with their ally king's head in a basket; they would be offering aid to a Reign of Terror with no foreseeable benefits and at the cost of exhausting the States' scant resources. Technically, Lafayette did survive the French Revolution (although he and his family suffered imprisonment), so Hamilton isn't completely wrong to say, "Lafayette's a smart man, he'll be fine."
- "What Comes Next" is basically King George telling the Americans they've got to lead themselves now and that's a much harder task than it looks. And he's right. The first American government, the Articles of Confederation, were replaced almost eight years to the day after they were finally ratified by all thirteen colonies.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In his Establishing Character Moment, Aaron Burr is about to blow off Alexander when the latter reveals he's an orphan like Burr and they both have to prove themselves to the world. Burr asks if he can buy the other young man a drink, and tries to give him advice. Later, despite Lafayette, Mulligan and Laurens roasting him, he buys them all a round, no strings attached.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Eliza in the workshop version of the album tells Hamilton to stop seeking fights over various issues. He doesn't listen, because he's too hot-headed.
- La Résistance: Of course, given that much of the first act is concerned with the American Revolution.
- Large Ham:
- Jefferson and Hamilton both have their moments, especially during their debates.
- King George takes the cake, though.George: And no, don't change the subject! 'Cause you're my favorite subject! My sweet, submissive subject. My loyal, royal subject. Forever. And ever. And ever and ever and ever...
- Landslide Election: Jefferson wins the election of 1800 in a landslide after receiving Hamilton's endorsement.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- Burr beats out Philip Schuyler Sr. for a governmental position, switching parties to do so. He tells Hamilton Nothing Personal and that he merely sought opportunity when he saw it, while Hamilton seethes. Several years later, while Burr runs for president, Hamilton similarly saying Nothing Personal endorses Jefferson the bid, winning the latter a landslide.
- A musical example: the end of "Hurricane" has Hamilton decide to "write his way out" by refuting the claim that he was embezzling government money by publicly announcing that it was instead to pay off the man blackmailing him over his affair. The very second he says the words "The Reynolds Pamphlet", there's a large boom and the music becomes fast and discordant, indicating that this was the exact wrong move.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- Lafayette, Laurens, and Mulligan encourage Burr to join in in their rap circle by asking him to "give us a verse" (which could otherwise be interpreted as boisterous conversation), but he refuses, saying "you spit, I'll sit".
- Hamilton tells Seabury not to change the song's key while they're arguing.
- After several songs dealing with Hamilton's personal life, "The Election of 1800" opens up with Jefferson saying, "Can we get back to politics?" and Madison adding "Please?"
- Madison walks in dabbing at his eyes with a handkerchief.
- Washington opens the first Cabinet Battle with, "Ladies and gentlemen, you coulda been anywhere in the world tonight, but you're here with us in New York City. Are you ready for a cabinet meeting?" - addressing both the onstage and offstage audience, who are indeed seeing a cabinet battle on Broadway, New York City.
- During "The Reynolds Pamphlet", the conductor reaches up out of the orchestra pit and is handed a copy from Jefferson.
- Learned From the News: Eliza only found out about Hamilton cheating on her when he published the Reynolds Pamphlet.
- Leitmotif: Each of the characters get their own musical themes, sometimes just by singing their names:
- "A-lex-an-der Ham-il-ton..." (First introduced in the song of the same name.)
- Burr is often underscored by "Aaron Burr, Sir" or "Wait for It".
- Washington has a pulsing beat behind him that is first heard in "Right Hand Man".
- Jefferson has an eight-note ostinato, the last four notes are first heard during his introduction in "What'd I Miss?", but are more prominently heard during "Washington on Your Side".
- The "count to ten" melody is first heard during "Ten Duel Commandments", and in the second act, becomes more associated with Philip.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Three important duels happen during the play; there's even a song outlining the rules of a civil argument.
- Laurens and Lee get into one over Washington's honor. Both live through it, although Lee ends up shot in the side.
- Philip calls out George Eacker for one after the latter insults his father. It ends in Philip's death.
- In the musical's climax, Burr challenges Hamilton to a duel over their political rivalry, and shoots him. Burr regrets it right after he sees Hamilton fall.
- Like Father, Like Son: Philip is a lot like Hamilton — he's smart and he knows it, is a flirt, is a hothead who will do anything to defend the honor of people he cares about, and ultimately ends up being killed in a duel because one party refuses to apologize.
- Like Parent, Like Spouse: A low-key case between Hamilton's dead mother and his mistress Maria Reynolds. Both of them weathered unhappy marriages, spousal abandonment, and dire financial straits; both are referred to by other characters as whores. Hamilton's genuine sympathy for Mrs. Reynolds and her situation gets him into some hot water.
- Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: A few bars of "The Bridal Chorus" play at the end of "Helpless," at Alexander and Eliza's wedding.
- Long List: During "Your Obedient Servant" Hamilton sends an "itemized list of 30 years of disagreements." Burr's response? "Sweet Jesus."
- Loophole Abuse: Subverted. Since Hamilton was ordered not to challenge Lee for his insults about Washington, Laurens offers to instead since he didn't receive such orders, shooting Lee in a duel. Washington arrives in time to see the aftermath and sends Hamilton home, both as punishment and so Hamilton can learn his wife is pregnant.
- Love at First Sight: Both Eliza and Angelica toward Hamilton.
- Marry for Love: Something the upperclass Eliza gets to do with the penniless Alexander, an option not available to Angelica because she's the oldest sister and is thus obliged to marry well.
- Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "Alexander Hamilton", "Non-Stop", and "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" are sweeping ensemble numbers that highlight all the principals.
- Meaningful Background Event:
- If you look closely in "The Reynolds Pamphlet", you can see someone give a pamphlet to a disappointed-looking Philip.
- In some performances, after Angelica and Laurens finish walking down the aisle in "Helpless" and separate to make way for the bride and groom, the two share a significant look, referencing Angelica's soon to be overt and Laurens's subtextual feelings for Hamilton.
- Angelica stays onstage after "The Schuyler Sisters", and watches the events of "Farmer Refuted" from the upper level.
- Meaningful Echo: "...But I'm not afraid. I know who I married." The first time, Eliza is reassuring Hamilton that whatever happens to them, they'll be fine, even without a legacy or a lot of money. The second time, Hamilton says it to Eliza, saying that he believes they can survive Phillip's death, even if it doesn't seem possible at that moment.
- Mic Drop: Jefferson does this in one of the cabinet battles. Madison catches it for him.
- Midword Rhyme: "My Shot" and "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" each have one.
- From "My Shot":I am the A-L-E-X-A-N-D-
E-R! We are! Meant to be
A colony that runs independently!
- From "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)":How did we know that this plan would work?
We had a spy on the inside. That's right. Herc-
- From "My Shot":
- Missing Mom: Alexander and his mother both became dangerously ill when he was twelve.Company: And Alex got better, but his mother went quick.
- Mood Whiplash:
- We get this back to back during the Reynolds scandal. First is "The Reynolds Pamphlet" where Hamilton admits his affair with Maria Reynolds to clear his name of legal wrongdoing. The song humorously features Jefferson, Madison, Burr, and even King George dancing and gloating that Hamilton will never be president. Then it's followed by "Burn", which is Eliza's heartbroken, furious reaction to the whole thing. And she is not laughing. "Burn" is directly followed by Philip's upbeat character song "Blow Us All Away" about him finding his place in the world as a young adult, which is then followed by the devastating "Stay Alive (Reprise)" and the equally-somber "It's Quiet Uptown." And after that is "The Election of 1800", which opens with Jefferson asking if they can get back to politics now.
- King George's first song, You'll Be Back, is a delightfully hammy Villain Love Song where he sings about his obsessive romance with America. It's lighthearted and comical at first, but after the song ends, one of his soldiers comes onstage and outright murders an innocent person.
- The only song not present in the official cast recording is a Dark Reprise of "The Story of Tonight," sung by John Laurens, as Hamilton learns in a letter that his best friend is dead. This happens immediately after "Dear Theodosia," a sweet and happy song about Hamilton's and Burr's firstborn children, and is directly followed by "Non-Stop," an energetic ensemble number.
- A slightly strange example in "Your Obedient Servant" comes in the dramatic shift in tone between different parts of the song; the seemingly lighthearted teasing of the chorus (Burr and Hamilton singsonging their signatures, the latter's being shortened to "A. Ham" since his last name is too many syllables to fit the beat) is immediately followed by Burr's lines:Burr: Careful how you proceed, good man
Intemperate indeed, good man
Answer for the accusations I lay at your feet or
Prepare to bleed, good man.
- Morality Pet: Eliza for most of the cast except for James and Maria Reynolds. George Washington explicitly keeps Hamilton out of danger after learning Eliza is pregnant, Angelica introduces her sister to the young Alexander on realizing Eliza loves him, and Jefferson, Madison, and Burr express sympathy for her after the Reynolds Pamphlet comes out. Burr in the Workshop version explicitly tells Hamilton to treat her well.
- Motor Mouth:
- Angelica actually has one of the fastest, most difficult patter in the show with "Satisfied"—Lin-Manuel Miranda admits that he can't wrap his mouth around it. FiveThirtyEight.com clocked it at 5 words per second.
- Lafayette spits some of the fastest verses in the show (and one of the fastest in Broadway history) in the first part of "Guns and Ships." Per FiveThirtyEight, Lafayette raps at 6.3 words per second. And in a fake French accent, to up the ante!
- Mundane Made Awesome:
- Cabinet debates? Have some Battle Rapping.
- Angelica gets an achingly romantic interlude about Hamilton's choice of punctuation.
- Writing over half of the Federalist Papers and becoming head of treasury? Have a Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number about what a Determinator our hero is.
- All the drama over Alexander Hamilton's check stubs in "We Know". (Of course, these seemingly mundane details are key to a scandal with much juicier elements — on one hand, rampant financial corruption, on the other, a brazen extramarital affair.)
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- Cut Song, Angelica mentions that she feels this way about introducing Alexander to her sister, not just because she loved Alexander but also because Eliza is in pain now due to Alexander's infidelity. In her
- Alexander bears this look while Angelica chews him out for writing "The Reynolds Pamphlet" and hurting Eliza.
- Aaron Burr regrets fatally shooting Hamilton on realizing the latter didn't want to kill him.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Alexander is proud and ambitious enough to earn the name of the Macedonian conqueror.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- Hamilton writing out a condemnation of President John Adams after the latter fires him ends up alienating him from the rest of his political party and killing any chances that Hamilton may have of running for president.
- Hamilton's affair with Maria Reynolds, where they are both married and Hamilton is a politician. Her husband blackmails Hamilton, and the latter reveals the affair publicly so as to avoid charges of corruption. Eliza on hearing what her husband did is so heartbroken and angry that he made her a laughingstock and cuckold that she ends their relationship and burns their letters.
- Hamilton also told his son to throw away his shot in the duel with George Eacker, which leads to Philip's death. Lampshaded when Eliza asks Hamilton, "Alexander, did you know?"
- Noodle Incident: A few, as even a musical as long as this can't fit in everything. Notable examples include:
- Madison's falling out with Hamilton - in Act One, they're co-writing The Federalist Papers; in Act Two, Jefferson notes that Madison hates Hamilton.
- The entire Presidency of John Adams.
- From a historical (and Aaron Burr's) point of view, whatever happened in The Room Where It Happens - something the song underlines with its repeated "Thomas claims". Jefferson's writings are the only source we have for this meeting, and most historians regard them as... less than impartial. This is lampshaded when the show has him presenting Madison as Hamilton's enemy and himself as the reasonable middleman willing to give Hamilton an ear, when every other part of the show makes it clear that he's the one who's leading the charge against Hamilton and Madison is following.
- "No Talking or Phones" Warning: As with every Broadway show, this type of announcement is made before every performance. And it's done by King George, of all people!King George III: Thank you, and enjoy my show.
- Nothing Personal: Burr tells Hamilton this after beating out Philip Schuyler Sr. for his Senate seat. In a cut segment Eliza picks up on this and prevents any huge fights from occurring.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Hamilton breaks the fourth wall to assure the audience that Martha Washington really did name a (presumably especially randy) tomcat after him. note
- Not So Different:
- The musical frequently shows this is the case for Hamilton and Burr. In fact, Burr decides to buy Hamilton a drink when he hears the young man (at the time) is an orphan like he is.
- Cut Song, Angelica scathingly points out to Hamilton that his affair with Maria Reynolds is a lot like what Jefferson did, except Jefferson never responded to his accusations. In a
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The doctor that tends to Philip keeps him alive long enough for Alexander and Eliza to arrive and comfort him in his last moments.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Hamilton's reaction to finding out that James Reynolds knows damn well what Hamilton's been getting up to with his wife, and intends to blackmail him with it.
- Hamilton has one for Burr, upon finding out Burr's girlfriend is married. Or, more to the point, finding out who she's married to.Burr: She's married.
Hamilton: I see.
Burr: She's married to a British officer.
Hamilton: ...Oh, shit.
- Burr, and Hamilton have this reaction when Washington shows up after Laurens' duel with Charles Lee, mainly because Washington explicitly stated he didn't want anyone to confront Lee over his insults. Only Hamilton ends up in trouble, though.
- In "The World Was Wide Enough," Burr screams, "Wait!" when he shoots Hamilton fatally after the latter fires his pistol into the sky, meaning Hamilton never planned to kill him and he just shot a man in cold blood.
- One Steve Limit: Averted.
- Philip Hamilton and Philip Schuyler, who are grandson and grandfather.
- James Madison and James Reynolds.
- George Washington, King George III, and George Eacker.
- John Laurens and John Adams (although the latter doesn't actually appear in the musical).
- Theodosia Bartow Prevost and Theodosia Burr Alston, Aaron Burr's wife and daughter, respectively.
- Only Sane Man: Hamilton, Burr and Jefferson all view themselves as this. Washington actually is.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
- In the companion book (affectionately called the "Hamiltome") it's noted that the fact that Alexander didn't write much about the death of John Laurens is an indication of how deeply he cared; he also says that this supports the theory that Laurens & Hamilton were lovers.
- After Philip dies, "It's Quiet Uptown" has none of Hamilton's clever lines and rhythms. He cannot think of how to win his wife's trust back with words. The song itself repeats the same lines about facing the unimaginable and noting how it's "quiet uptown".
- Orphaned Punchline: Laurens's "Alright, alright, that's what I'm talking about!" at the start of "Satisfied" is "the punchline to a dirty joke you didn't hear".
- Outliving One's Offspring:
- Hamilton and Eliza with regard to their oldest son, as Philip is killed in a duel at the age of 19.
- Historically, Aaron Burr outlived his daughter Theodosia by more than two decades.
- Papa Wolf: Both Burr and Hamilton sing about fighting to make a better world for their children in "Dear Theodosia."
- Parental Love Song: "Dear Theodosia." Burr and Hamilton both sing to their respective children about how they hope to make the world a better place for them to live in.
- Pass the Popcorn: King George sits on a chair after saying, "PRESIDENT John Adams, good luck" and starts watching the fireworks that emerge, even swaying to the music as Burr sings. He also helps pass out the Reynolds Pamphlet.
- Passing the Torch: When Washington steps down, defying everyone's expectations.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Burr and Hamilton during "Your Obedient Servant", remaining polite even while speaking to each other with thinly-veiled contempt. To paraphrase: 'You'll have to be more specific about which disagreement of ours you're referring to. Here, have an annotated list of everything we've fought about over the years. Pick one and get back to me. Your Obedient Servant...'
- Perspective Flip: The first meeting between Hamilton and Eliza is described in two songs - "Helpless", sung by Eliza, and "Satisfied", sung by Angelica. Eliza recounts the meeting in a decidedly romantic way (there's her instant infatuation with Hamilton and his insistent courtship of her) - but Angelica later says that she sacrificed her feelings for Eliza's benefit, and that the penniless Hamilton was interested in the Schuylers' money and would have been content with marrying any of the sisters.
- Plausible Deniability: Discussed in "Ten Duel Commandments" in regards to doctors that are onsite during illegal duels.You pay 'em in advance
You treat 'em with civility
You have 'em turn around so they can have deniability.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Jefferson and Madison, particularly Jefferson, are extremely classist and xenophobic, constantly looking down on Hamilton for his past as a poor immigrant. (Although in another instance, Jefferson expresses support for poor American farmers, saying the banks are harming them.) Jefferson's slave ownership is also mentioned a few times.
- Polyamory: In "Helpless," Angelica jokes about how Eliza should share Hamilton.
- The Power of Language: A motif throughout, closely tied to the concept of stories and who tells them. Hamilton's superpower is writing, and the play chronicles how he uses his persuasive words to help and harm himself throughout his life. "Hurricane" discusses this:I wrote my way out of hell
I wrote my way to revolution
I was louder than the crack in the bell
I wrote Eliza love letters until she fell
I wrote about the Constitution and defended it well
And in the face of ignorance and resistance
I wrote financial systems into existence
And when my prayers to God were met with indifference
I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance
- Precision F-Strike: The musical demonstrates the perfect use of this trope, with numerous perfectly struck F-bombs in the perfect moments. The show in general doesn't use much in the way of strong language. But when it does... BOOM!!!! The Disney+ release censored all but one of the show's F-bomb usages in order to secure a PG-13 rating (the highest film rating Disney allows on the service), while retaining the Curse Cut Short variants.
- Pun: In "Alexander Hamilton":James Madison: Then a hurricane came, and devastation (reigned/rained).
- Put on a Bus: Lafayette returns to France at the end of Act One, only to suffer the French Revolution. Angelica also travels to and from London to see Hamilton and Eliza.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Hamilton publishing the Reynolds Pamphlet clears his name of corruption charges, which saves him from jail time and Blackmail but ruins his marriage and later leads to his son's death.
- Quarreling Song:
- Race Lift: Invoked. The only white actor in a major role is King George. The other main characters are meant to be played by non-white actors (unlike their historical counterparts, who were whitenote ), while King George's casting call specifically called for a Caucasian male. This was to help show how different the King was from the revolutionaries and, in a broader sense, give people of color the opportunity to reclaim the history they were denied.
- Rap Rock: "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" has shades of this. The violins even sound like a palm-muted electric guitar.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Jefferson gives one to Hamilton during "Cabinet Battle #2", calling him a disloyal, amoral, power-grabbing, Nouveau Riche Social Climber who is nothing without Washington's support. Hamilton isn't at all fazed.
- Hamilton gives just as good in the first debate, where he calls Jefferson a Hypocrite who wrote the Declaration of Independence while enjoying the profits of slave labor and living it up in France when others were fighting the war.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni:
- The passionate, intelligent, fiery Angelica (red), and her sister, the demure, ladylike, kindhearted Eliza (blue).
- The hotheaded, fast-talking, war-loving Hamilton (red), and the pragmatic, slow to anger, fence-sitting Burr (blue).
- The somewhat insane, controlling, hammy King George III (red), and the calm, collected, Reasonable Authority Figure Washington (blue).
- The flashy, sarcastic, Smug Snake Jefferson (red), and the quiet, analytical, low-key Madison (blue).
- Rejected Apology: Inverted; it's discussed that if two parties disagree and one apologizes, then there is no need for a duel to settle honor. The three big duels that happen in the play occur because one party refuses to apologize, even when, as Hamilton admits to Burr about his complaints, the other has a legitimate grievance.
- The Reveal: One of these happens at the end of "Alexander Hamilton". The song is introduced by a man asking how a "bastard orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman" can grow up and become a national hero, followed by the same man narrating Hamilton's early life with help from the rest of the cast. After Hamilton has introduced himself to the audience, the cast reveal their relationships with him. Last of all, the narrator reveals his identity as well as Hamilton's future in one single line:Narrator: And me? I'm the damn fool that shot him!
- Rhyming with Itself: "Philip, you would like it uptown / It's quiet uptown..."
- Rule of Three:
- A tragic one with "sept" or "seven"; when Philip Hamilton is singing in French with his mother, he changes the melody on "sept, huit, nuin". He gets shot by George Eacker on seven paces, not ten. Then he dies when his mother sings the scales to him when they both sing "sept".
- There are also three duels throughout the show: the first is between Charles Lee and John Laurens with John as victor (though Lee survives), a second between Phillip Hamilton and George Eacker (in which Phillip dies), and the third and final is also the last scene in the show: the famous duel between Hamilton and Burr that Hamilton does not survive.
- Running Gag: The many rhymes used alongside the phrase, "Burr, sir."
- Sanity Slippage Song: "The World Was Wide Enough" for both Burr and Hamilton. Not surprising, since its the song where Burr shoots Hamilton.
- Say My Name: "Aaron Burr, Sir" repeatedly, Alexander Hamilton and Lafayette in "Guns and Ships" and Hercules Mulligan in "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)".
- The Scottish Trope: After telling Angelica in a letter that he won't name a certain Scottish tragedy, he comes out and uses the word "Macbeth" anywaynote — and from that point on, Hamilton begins his downward slide, losing his reputation, his influence and position, the trust of his wife, his son, his friendship with Burr, and eventually his life in a duel.
- Shipper on Deck: Burr attends Hamilton's wedding and congratulates him for marrying Eliza. When Alexander hears that Burr is dating the wife of a British officer, he sincerely tells the man, in turn, to "go get her" and he wants to meet Theodosia some day.
- Shout-Out: To many hip-hop songs, as well as to The Last Five Years, The Pirates of Penzance, South Pacific, and, naturally, 1776. As well as a Scottish tragedy that Hamilton would rather not name. The show also includes numerous shout-outs to The West Wing, including Lin-Manuel Miranda tending to put on his coat Martin Sheen style while performing as Hamilton. See the shout-out page for more details.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Lafayette, Laurens, and Mulligan, who are responsible for many lighthearted moments in the show, are all gone by the end of Act I, right before Hamilton's life snowballs into a shitshow. Their actors are double-cast as Jefferson, Philip Hamilton and Madison respectively.
- King George appears sporadically through the musical providing humorous/cynical commentary on events through reprises of his song. But his last appearance is in "The Reynolds Pamphlet" where he has no lines but is one of the politicians dancing and taunting Hamilton for blowing his chance at becoming president due to his affair. The rest of the musical is much more somber, as it covers the death of Hamilton's son Phillip and the events leading up to the famous duel and Hamilton's own death, and as a result, an appearance from George would have been inappropriate in tone.
- Showstopper: During the 2016 Grammys performance, they deliberately added in several extra lines of silence after Lin-Manuel Miranda first sings the line "Alexander Hamilton" to account for the applause, but the applause was so strong that the next line ("My name is Alexander Hamilton") was still drowned out anyway. Compare this to the first performance of the song, back in 2009 at the White House, where the same line also created a strong response from the audience - but of confused laughter. How things have changed!
- Settle for Sibling: There are some suggestions Hamilton believes he's done this in choosing Eliza over Angelica due to Angelica stepping aside, such as describing her as his "dearest". However, he later comes to realize that Eliza is the "best" wife.
- Sibling Triangle: The sisters Angelica and Eliza are both in love with Hamilton. Angelica, who values her little sister's happiness above all else, steps aside so she can marry Hamilton and be happy. Despite this, her relationship with Hamilton still has romantic undertones.
- Significant Double Casting: Lafayette/Jefferson, Mulligan/Madison, Laurens/Philip, and Peggy/Maria are all done to make the ending of "Alexander Hamilton" work with both roles: Lafayette/Mulligan and Jefferson/Madison both fought with him (in both senses of the phrase - alongside and against), Laurens and Phillip both died for him (Laurens defending emancipation, a passion both men shared, and Philip defending his father's honor), and Peggy and Maria Reynolds both loved him (Peggy as a sister-in-law, and Maria as a way to help her husband blackmail Hamilton, although it's unclear if Maria had actual feelings for Hamilton or not).
- Silly Love Songs:
- "Helpless" is a cheery, upbeat number about Eliza and Alexander meeting and falling in love, told from her perspective.
- "Satisfied" is Angelica's Love Hurts song. Played with, as sisterly love wins out over romantic love.
- Sleep Deprivation: Hamilton "hadn't slept in a week" while he was writing the Federalist Papers.
- Smug Snake: Jefferson oh so much, especially in "The Reynolds Pamphlet" and after becoming president.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The entire musical, as a result of mixing late 18th/early 19th century speech patterns with modern hip-hop vernacular.
- The song "Non-Stop" contains both the lines "Corruption's such an old song that we can sing along in harmony" and "Yo, who the eff is this?".Hamilton: Hang on, how many men died because Lee was inexperienced and ruinous?
Burr Okay, so we're doin' this.
- One of the best examples unfortunately didn't make it into the finished product: a cut rap that would have appeared in "The Adams Administration" rhymed the phrase "vast international intrigue" with "Bitch, please!"
- The song "Non-Stop" contains both the lines "Corruption's such an old song that we can sing along in harmony" and "Yo, who the eff is this?".
- Spelling for Emphasis: During the song about how great Hamilton is, his friends sing, "A-L-E-X-A-N-D/E-R, we are meant to be!"
- Sorry That I'm Dying: A delirious Philip apologizes to his mother and father that he got shot and that he forgot what his mother taught him.
- Spiritual Successor: To 1776. That show is more of a Government Procedural focused on one summer, while Hamilton is a full biography, but there are similarities beyond "about a Founding Father." In particular are John Adams' struggle to maintain his principles while convincing his political opponents to go along with him, the struggles and contradictions of the Revolution, and his tendency to piss off everyone around him. 1776 also alludes to the fickle nature of legacy and historical memory with Adams' lament that he's sure to be forgotten and Franklin's comment that future generations ought to view them as men, not demi-gods. In Hamilton it's a central theme, with various characters' attempts to shape and control how they'll be viewed in the future and the awareness that every decision sets a precedent.
- Stealth Pun: Miranda has said in interviews that he wanted King George's numbers to mimic the music popularized during The British Invasion. Come to think of it, a British invasion of the Colonies is exactly what King George wants.
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: In "Guns and Ships".He's constantly confusing, confounding the British henchmen:EVERYONE GIVE IT UP FOR AMERICA'S FAVORITE FIGHTING FRENCHMAN!
- Sung-Through Musical: In this case, a sung- and rapped-through musical, save for a brief portion of dialogue not included on the cast album, listed in the Playbill as "Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us", the sequence in which Eliza reveals to Hamilton that Laurens had died.
- Survivor Guilt:
- In "It's Quiet Uptown", Hamilton expresses this with regard to his son Philip, who died young in a duel over his father's honor.
- Burr too, lamenting in "The World Was Wide Enough" that Hamilton didn't have to die and killing him was the worst mistake of his life.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Maria Reynolds says she doesn't "know about any letter" - before Hamilton mentions he received one. It's not made explicit, but it tips the scales in favor of her knowing something about her husband's plans.
- Sympathy for the Hero: Madison cries onstage after Hamilton's son Philip dies after a duel.
- Tempting Fate: Hamilton laughs when Washington tells him that Jefferson resigned to run for president since no one can beat Washington in the campaign. Washington tells him, "I'm stepping down, I'm not running for President."
- Ten Paces and Turn: Three times! Each time accompanied by a whole-song Shout-Out to The Notorious B.I.G..
- The Theme Park Version: Hamilton has been criticized in more than a few quarters for trafficking in Founders' Chic"; merely repackaging familiar stereotypes about the founders (George Washington the Humble Heronote , Thomas Jefferson the Hypocritenote , Aaron Burr, an usurping and ambitious man without loyaltynote ) that was criticized by historians Nancy Isenberg, Sean Willentz among others. Most notably, the show cultivates sympathy for its protagonist, Alexander Hamilton, by arguing that he was an abolitionist based on highly selective interpretation of loose facts, and prominently ignoring parts of history that belie that claim.Lyra Monteiro: This is a way that writers of popular history (and some academic historians) represent the founders as relatable, cool guys. Founders Chic tends to really downplay the involvement of the Founding Fathers in slavery, and this play does that 100 percent. ... So the 12th line of the play where its mentioned, he struggled and kept his guard up is the line right after talking about slaves being slaughtered and carted away. But we have no idea what Alexander Hamiltons attitude toward slavery was when he was a boy growing up in the Caribbean. He worked on a slave ship. I mean, chances are probably pretty high that he was in favor of it; that was his livelihood. So few white people were opposed to slavery, especially white people in the Caribbean. Its kind of bonkers to suggest that he was somehow suffering and feeling like slavery was an injustice at that time.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Burr's reaction when Washington shows up after Burr, Hamilton, Lee and Laurens are all involved in a duel (which Washington explicitly stated he didn't want to happen). All in all, Burr gets off easy, as does Laurens. (Lee got shot in the side, but he survived, which is getting off easy in a duel.) Hamilton? Not so much.
- Threesome Subtext: Two of the Schuyler sisters are in love with Alexander, and while he ultimately chooses Eliza, his relationship with Angelica still has romantic undertones.Eliza: Laughing at my sister, 'cause she wants to form a harem.
Angelica: I'm just saying, if you really loved me, you would share him.
- Tragic Bromance: That of Hamilton and Laurens. Laurens was Hamilton's closest friend, and his death in a meaningless post-war skirmish motivates Hamilton to work to the near-superhuman levels he's shown to do in "Non-Stop." Some historians actually believe that Hamilton and Laurens may have had a bit of a relationship, given some of their writings to each other.
- Trauma Conga Line:
- How Hamilton's life started. He's the "bastard son of a whore" and a Scotsman; his father abandons him, and a few years later his mother dies of sickness; when he's sent to live with the relative, the latter is Driven to Suicide. This makes Hamilton very driven to succeed, to not die in poverty as his mother did, and to be a better father to his children.
- Poor Eliza by the end of the musical. First her husband publishes "the Reynolds pamphlet" which lays out in detail an affair he had with another married woman. Then her son dies in a Duel to the Death because of the advice her husband gave the former and then Hamilton also dies in a duel, without telling her about the "meeting" he had with Burr. Despite all this, she carries on Hamilton's legacy, saving many orphans like him, and making sure the world doesn't forget him.
- Together in Death: In the moments before he's shot, Hamilton sees his lost loved ones "on the other side," then an image of Eliza, whom he promises he'll see again when the times comes. It's mutual, as her last line in the musical expresses a desire for the same thing. And sure enough, he's right there waiting for her.
- True Companions: Although they're separated by war, Hamilton, Laurens, Lafayette, and Mulligan remain this throughout the first act. Particularly Hamilton and Laurens.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The musical is very historically accurate and contains many surprising details about the characters that are actually true if you look them up, but enough artistic license is still taken throughout for pacing and story reasons that you wouldn't cite it in a history paper.
- Vice-President Who?: Hamilton would like to remind Eliza that John Adams doesn't have a real job, anyway.
- Villainous Lament: Certainly the end of "The World Was Wide Enough."Burr: I was too young and blind to see [...] the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.
- Villain Song:
- King George gets "You'll Be Back", in which he says to the colonies that he'll win the Revolution even if he has to kill many people to get them back.
- "Wait For It" arguably qualifies as this. In the song Burr compares Hamilton to unstoppable forces such as love and death and it shows Burr's barely suppressed envy of Hamilton.
- "What'd I Miss?" introduces Jefferson and Madison and sets them up as the political enemies of Hamilton.
- Ironically, "The Room Where It Happens" counts as this for Hamilton, due to being from Burr's perspective and featuring the skulduggery necessary to get Hamilton's ambitious debt plan through Congress.
- "Washington On Your Side" has the Southern motherfuckin' Democratic-Republicans (Jefferson, Madison, and Burr) envying Washington's favoritism with Hamilton and plotting to destroy Hamilton's reputation and career.
- "The Adams Administration", though short, is mostly about the Southern Democratic-Republicans gloating that now that Adams is president, Hamilton has lost his political power for the time being.
- "The Reynolds Pamphlet" has Hamilton's enemies gloating that his career and presidential hopes have been ruined by his own pamphlet, though it's also a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Angelica and America as a whole to Hamilton for his infidelity. Even King George returns to help pass out the pamphlet.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Burr and Hamilton, despite their extreme differences, do genuinely consider themselves friends for most of the show, and are relatively friendly (if sarcastic) towards each other for the most part. It makes what ultimately happens all the more tragic.
- Voice of the Legion: Used in the songs "The Adams Administration" and "The Reynolds Pamphlet" to represent the public in the face of Hamilton's audacity, voiced by the Lin-Man himself.
- Voice Types: Eliza is a soprano, to emphasize her sweetness and naivete. Her sisters Angelica and Peggy are both mezzo-sopranos; both Angelica and Maria (the other role Peggy's actress is cast as) are her foils.
- Most of the male cast are baritenors, with the exception of tenors King George and John Laurens / Philip Hamilton.
- Wait, What?: Combined with Flat "What", Hamilton's response to Washington saying he's stepping down and not running for reelection.
- War Is Glorious: Hamilton sure thinks so.
- War Is Hell: Washington believes this, especially when you mess up as a general.
- Wartime Wedding: Alexander and Eliza's, right in the thick of the revolution after a brief courtship. Not that this was unusual for this time period, of course.
- We Used to Be Friends: Hamilton and Burr, though their friendship was troubled from the beginning. Hamilton expressly calls him "my first friend".
Hamilton: I've always considered you a friend.Burr: I don't see why that has to end.Hamilton: You changed parties to run against my father-in-law!
- Lampshaded in "Schuyler Defeated":
- Welcoming Song:
- The first number, "Alexander Hamilton," where the company welcomes the titular character to America.
- "What'd I Miss" has the company and most of the characters welcoming Jefferson back from his time in France.
- Wham Line:
- In-universe: "Jefferson has my vote!" Especially wham-y since Hamilton rather openly despises Jefferson and is friends with Burr (sort of). Not so much a "wham" for the audience, if only because most people know Aaron Burr was never president.
- From James Reynolds to Hamilton: "See, that was my wife you decided to-" FUUU-
- During Philip's duel: "One two three four five six seven-" BOOM!
- Burr provides a line in "The World Was Wide Enough" which shifts the audience's perspective on his duel with Hamilton: This man will not make an orphan of my daughter.
- Another in-universe, courtesy of George Washington: "I'm not running for President."
- What Beautiful Eyes!: In keeping with the Love at First Sight tropes mentioned above, both Schuyler sisters are struck by Hamilton's piercing eyes. (In real life, Hamilton seems to have particularly striking eyes, described as light blue or even violet. Of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda's own eyes are nothing to sneeze at.)
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's explained that Laurens died and Lafayette went back to France after the war, but Hercules Mulligan is never mentioned again after Act I.
- In real life, Mulligan went back to tailoring and also wrote against slavery. He and Hamilton remained friends after the war was over.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Washington chews out Hamilton for allowing infighting to happen during the war, right when Washington ordered him not to respond to taunts that Lee made against the General. Hamilton's response that Lee should have been shot in the mouth is clearly Not Helping Your Case.
- After Hamilton candidly admits his infidelity in the Reynolds Pamphlet, he knows his political career will never recover; Angelica's arrival in New York seems like an opportunity for some sympathy. But Angelica delivers a stinging rebuke instead—she's not there to soothe Alex, she's there to comfort her devastated younger sister, whom Hamilton has just publicly humiliated.Angelica: I love my sister more than anything in this life
I will choose her happiness over mine, every time
Put what we had aside
I'm standing at her side
You could never be satisfied
God I hope you're satisfied
- Eliza herself has a whole song, "Burn", where she calls Hamilton out (albeit in absence) for not only humiliating her but straight up breaking her heart; she burns their correspondence, including the letters he wrote when courting her, and declares "You forfeit all rights to my heart/You forfeit the place in our bed/You'll sleep in your office instead," effectively ending their relationship and cutting him out of her life.
- Jefferson during "Cabinet Battle #2", when Hamilton convinces Washington to keep America neutral and not aid France in their war with England: "Did you forget Lafayette?"
- Aaron Burr irritates Alexander Hamilton in "The Election of 1800", when Hamilton observes that Burr's open campaigning is novel, Burr says, "I'm chasing what I wanted. You know what? I learned that from you." In real life Hamilton's endorsement of Jefferson happened for different reasons, but in the musical, that jibe from Burr is directly related to Hamilton's endorsement, which happens immediately after in the song.
- While the conversation is incorporated into "The Reynolds Pamphlet," the scrapped song "Congratulations" consists of Angelica calling Hamilton out on his "stupid" actions of publishing his affair.
- What You Are in the Dark: Discussed by Burr in "The Room Where It Happens" as from his perspective he witnessed Hamilton sell America's soul to Jefferson for financial power.Chorus: We dream of a brand new start,
Burr: But we dream in the dark for the most part.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story," where the other characters recount what happened to them after Hamilton's death.
- White-and-Grey Morality: No one's completely bad in this story (except for maybe King George III, and historically, he was more crazy than anything). The antagonists sincerely believe they're doing the right thing. Even Aaron Burr, who ends up killing the title character, is portrayed as being a conflicted, complicated man, but ultimately a good one who genuinely regrets what he did. Everyone's just doing the best they can under the circumstances, with mixed results.
- Windbag Politician: Hamilton develops into this and the play repeatedly mock him for it. Arguably, Hamilton's sheer inability to shut up eventually causes his downfall.Burr: [Hamilton] talks for six hours! The convention is listless!
- Women Are Wiser: In the workshop version of "Schuyler Defeated," Burr explicitly praises Eliza for being this when she refuses to let Hamilton get in a fight with him. She asks about his wife and daughter, and he appreciates the sentiment. Eliza tells Hamilton, who is offended about the slight to Philip Schuyler Senior, that it's not worth getting into a fight over honor.
- Won the War, Lost the Peace: King George predicts this will happen to the United States, and it's the goal of the rest of the characters to prevent this from happening. Of course, they succeed.
- Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: At the end of Act I:Washington: I'm asking you to be my right-hand man.
Hamilton: Treasury or state?
Washington: I know it's a lot to ask—
Hamilton: Treasury or state?
Washington: To leave behind the world you know—
Hamilton: Sir, do you want me to run the treasury or the state department?
Hamilton: [gleefully] Let's go.
- Workaholic: Alexander becomes this after he learns about John Laurens' death. "I have so much work to do."
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: "Hurricane", where Hamilton describes all that's he's had to go through to build up a legacy worth protecting. He uses this as inspiration to publish an account of his affair with Maria Reynolds, believing he could write his way out of trouble as he had done in the past. It doesn't work.
- Worthy Opponent:
- King George III apparently has a great enough respect for George Washington to believe that no one else could lead the young United States as effectively as he did, least of all John Adams ("I Know Him").
- Downplayed, but Hamilton begs Washington for command for a greater part of the Revolution. When Charles Lee basically bails on the army during the Battle of Monmouth, Washington calls for Hamilton, who seems ready to finally take command of the troops, only for Washington to tell him to put Lafayette in charge. Hamilton is disappointed, but his later remarks and attitude by the time of Yorktown imply he at least had no problem with his whip-sharp friend taking command over him.
- Jefferson is impressed with Hamilton's rapping during the first cabinet battle and even claps a little in a "alright, you got me there" way during their debate. Later when Hamilton effectively destroys the Federalist Party by slamming new president John Adams after he is fired, Madison is gleeful that Hamilton is apparently cooked, but Jefferson refutes him, saying that Hamilton is a threat as long as he can hold a pen.
- At the end of the play, Hamilton's opponents all admit that he was a genius who did a lot of good for the country.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Maria Reynolds pulls one on Hamilton by asking for help with her abusive husband; they subsequently have an affair over which her husband blackmails Hamilton. Hamilton accuses Maria of doing this after receiving the Blackmail letter.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In "The Room Where It Happens", Madison and Jefferson are so focused on winning 'a victory for the Southerners' that they completely miss the importance of what they're trading for it. Burr and Hamilton, on the other hand, know exactly what's going on. note
- X Meets Y: Invoked in the show's casting calls. Each character is described as X meets Y, X being a rapper or pop star and Y being a Broadway role. For instance, Alexander Hamilton is "Eminem meets Sweeney Todd".
- Yandere: King George is a little ... forceful about winning back the colonies' loyalty.When you're gone, I'll go mad
So don't throw away this thing we had
Cause when push comes to shove
I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love!
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Laurens eventually assembles the first all-black battalion composed of former slaves, as he promised to do in "My Shot"... and then in a post-war skirmish he's wiped out with most of his soldiers, and the survivors are returned to their owners. And the play ends well before the eradication of slavery in America.
- You Know I'm Black, Right?: After the first Cabinet Battle:Hamilton: I'm sorry, these Virginians are birds of a feather!
Washington: Young man, I'm from Virginia, so watch your mouth.
- Your Cheating Heart:
- Hamilton cheats on Eliza with Maria Reynolds, who was already married to James Reynolds.
- Burr had a relationship with the elder Theodosia while she was still married to her first husband. Burr marries her after her husband's death.
- You Fool!: Angelica tells Hamilton this in her Cut Song after he writes the Reynolds pamphlet. She even compares him to his rival, Thomas Jefferson, and claims they're Not So Different.
- Worse than that, she says that Jefferson is better than Hamilton, because at least Jefferson has the common sense to keep his mouth shut.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Washington every time Hamilton loses his temper with a rival like Lee, or Jefferson.
- You Taught Me That: Early in the play, Hamilton repeatedly criticizes Burr for his passivity and equivocation. Once Burr becomes more proactive (though no less equivocating), we get this exchange from "The Election of 1800":Hamilton: Burr, is there anything you wouldn't do?
Burr: No. I'm going after what I want, and you know what?
Burr: I learned that from you.