Subject: doctorlit reviews Hamilton: An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Posted on: 2020-07-27 18:18:26 UTC

Watched Hamilton with my brother last weekend, after we finished The Mandalorian. My brother has been way into Hamilton, listening to the soundtrack on repeat. I’ve kind of randomly come across some of the songs from YouTube (mostly Annapantsu covers), but didn’t have much context for them. Turns out Hamilton doesn’t narrate every male-voiced song in the show. Who would have thought?

Spoilers for United States history. Oh, and also Hamilton: An American Musical.

Reviewing something that’s largely based on real people is a little weird . . . the main thing I want to rant about here is the two presentations of ambition in the show, Hamilton’s and Burr’s. Let me start by saying that I absolutely hate ambition, and I feel like it’s the main weakness of modern U.S. society: people wanting to get more than they need is how economic inequality begins. H:AAM presents both Hamilton and Burr as ambitious figures, which makes it difficult for me to relate to them. But I find myself respecting Hamilton more than Burr, even though I think Burr and I have similar personalities. We’re both very cautious and quiet, and willing to step back from the action. But whereas I do so because I recognize my own unimportance in the universe, Burr is instead waiting for an opportunity to seize, at a moment that poses the least risk to himself. His own survival is at the forefront of his thoughts. (Fun fact via my brother: about twenty-five years after the U.S. revolution against Britain, Burr conspired with the British to form his own country!) Meanwhile, Hamilton spends the early portion of the show very concerned about elevating his own status in the colonies. But after Burr warns him to “talk less, smile more,” he continues to try fighting on the front lines in the war, and to fight for radical changes in the developing government. He is self-interested, no question, but he frames that self-interest as his legacy; he is more interested in what comes after his own death than the fame or influence he attains while he’s still alive. And that’s a kind of ambition I can get behind, an ambition for the benefit of humanity that lasts longer than any one human. Oh, and Mr. Burr, sir, in answer to your question to Hamilton, “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” It’s because we’re all running out of time. We only have so much time to enact change and betterment in the world. If you wait for it too long, out of fear of your own well-being, then you do no good at all.

—doctorlit, looking ahead

♪Unimportant, there’s a million spoilers I haven’t done♪ ♪Unimportant, there’s a million spoilers I haven’t done♪ ♪Unimportant, there’s a million spoilers I haven’t done♪

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