The Piece Of Foreshadowing In 'Hamilton' That Everyone Misses

The Piece Of Foreshadowing In 'Hamilton' That Everyone Misses

A look at the Bullet's swift transformation into a omen of death.
60460
views

From its lyric to its musical motifs, to its staging, saying Broadway's "Hamilton" loves its foreshadowing would be an understatement. The ensemble's role in hinting at the future is no secret, since most of the foreshadowing is audible on the cast album. They begin the show as most ensembles do: as dancers, unseen voices, and background/one-off characters, but quickly begin to morph out of those common molds within the first ten songs. By the middle of the first act, they have become a manifestation of thought, mainly Hamilton's (the repetition of "My Shot" at the end of "Right Hand Man" sticks out in particular) and Burr's ("Wait For It"), and as Act I closes, they morph into a full-on Greek Chorus, knowing Hamilton's future and warning him of what is to come. "Say No To This" is a prime example of this, with the ensemble urging Hamilton to "go," to say "no" to his affair with Maria Reynolds, and from the end of "Non-Stop" to the end of "Hurricane," it seems Hamilton can't allude to his death, intentionally or not, without the ensemble telling him to "wait," that his time is coming.

See Also: Connecticut Slang 101

The ensemble's most effective and intriguing piece of foreshadowing, though, is not on the cast album and is one that I have noticed is often overlooked until it is too late by every person I've talked to who has seen the show. The Bullet, an ensemble member with nothing to separate her from the rest but a poof of curls at the top of her head, morphs not only into a Greek Chorus member, but into a signal of death approaching until she eventually (historical spoiler alert:) approaches Hamilton at the end of the show as an embodiment of the shot that killed him.

At the start, the Bullet is indistinguishable from her fellow ensemble members. Most of the ensemble steps into the spotlight a couple times, though, as everything from named historical figures like Samuel Seabury and James Reynolds to small speaking roles, and the Bullet is no different. After "You'll Be Back," she steps forward for the first time as a spy receiving a letter, only to have her neck snapped by a redcoat and become the first death of the revolution. However, unlike the rest of the ensemble, who return to the anonymous chorus until their next role, the Bullet never seems to leave that first moment behind. Her next appearance as a singular character is in "Stay Alive," when she becomes the actual Bullet for the first time as she passes Hamilton by at the sound of the gunshot at the top of the song, and from that moment on, every second she is allowed the audience's full or even partial attention, she becomes a harbinger of death.

Though her connection to death is most apparent in Act II, she is absolutely present and aware of his role as the Bullet from the beginning. When asked about playing the Bullet in an interview with "The Great Discontent," Ariana DeBose, the original Bullet, said, "I always know I’m aiming for him—even if the rest of the ensemble members don’t. So even if I’m just a lady in a ball gown at a party, there’s still a part of my character that knows that that moment is going to come.” Even when the spotlight is not on her, every moment the Bullet is onstage has significance. Whether it's in "My Shot," when the ensemble unfreezes one by one as Hamilton moves toward them during his first recitation of the "I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory" monologue and the Bullet is the last one to move, her hand still outstretched toward Hamilton as he steps in front of her, or it's in "Ten Duel Commandments," when the ensemble lines up between Hamilton and Burr, singing, "Pick a place to die where it's high and dry," and the Bullet places herself directly at Hamilton's side, the connection between them is already being formed. Knowing that the Bullet is fully aware of the final meeting she and Hamilton are hurtling toward makes the short moment in "Ten Duel Commandments" when Hamilton looks at her lining up beside him, the only time he ever seems to truly see her before his final moments, and the pair stand side by side for numbers six and seven of the Commandments, moving through the choreography in sync, feel hugely significant in a way it never would otherwise.

Several songs later, during "Yorktown," she kills a redcoat with Laurens in South Carolina. They celebrate for a brief moment before she returns to the ensemble, and the show moves on. It until three songs later that the audience and Hamilton learn that Laurens was shot and killed in South Carolina not long after the fighting ended. It is a short and easily dismissed interaction, but this is the first moment that her actions are entwined in someone's death. This quick look the Bullet and Laurens share in "Yorktown" begins to feel like Laurens sealing his fate with a handshake in retrospect.

This quick tie the Bullet forms with a person as they are about to die becomes extremely important in the second act, when she really steps into her role as the Bullet. Her spoken lines, though few, are particularly significant, as every one of them eventually leads to someone getting shot – namely, Philip and Hamilton. In "Blow Us All Away," she tells Philip exactly where to find George Eaker, the man who will kill him, singing, "I saw him just up Broadway, couple of blocks. He was going to see a play.” Philip follows her directions and challenges him to the duel that will kill him. Her only other spoken line is as one of Burr's supporters in "The Election of 1800," when she says, “I can’t believe we’re here with him” and flashes Burr a large, hopeful smile. Burr leaves the exchange with a fist pump, believing he has the election in the bag, only to have that hope ripped away when Hamilton's support of Jefferson leads to him losing the presidency and challenging Hamilton to the duel the whole show has been foreshadowing. At the start of "Your Obedient Servant," when Burr actually challenges Hamilton, the Bullet actually pulls Burr's desk onto the stage and hands him his quill so that he can begin his fateful letters, edging his toward the battlefield. Every action she takes ensures that Hamilton meets her one last time.

Once she has successfully gotten the pair to pull their guns on each other's, she appears for a final time as the actual bullet, slowly approaching Hamilton throughout the entirety of his final monologue and coming dangerously close to him as he moves, scatter-brained, across the stage. Halfway through, he steps right in her path, turns back and stumbles out of the way, and as he frantically repeats, "Rise up, rise up, rise up," she lunges for him, only to be pulled back by another ensemble member as Eliza steps in her path. Once Hamilton has been shot, she joins the ensemble once again, satisfied that the path she's been on since the beginning has come to an end.

I have only seen "Hamilton" once, unfortunately, and only noticed the Bullet's significance throughout the show by chance when I found my eye drawn to her because I liked her hair. The few things I did notice are most definitely not all of the foreshadowing that the Bullet presents, so if you get the chance to see "Hamilton," make sure to keep her in the corner of your eye. It is not immediately clear which ensemble member will become the Bullet now that Ariana DeBose has left the Richard Rogers, but once you witness the first death of the revolution, you'll know.

Cover Image Credit: David Korins

Popular Right Now

35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
158455
views

Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating
Facebook Comments