The Villain In Our History Books
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The Villain In Our History Books

4 reasons I relate to the villain of "Hamilton," Aaron Burr.

The Villain In Our History Books
Theo Wargo

I, like so many others, have fallen under the spell of the Tony Award-winning smash hit musical, “Hamilton.” But as I listen to the hours of historical hip hop and rap over and over again, I’ve come to a rather disarming realization. Out of the 46 brilliant songs and the dozens of vibrant characters, I relate the most to the supposed villain, Aaron Burr. Here are four reasons why I relate to Burr, before he became the cutthroat politician, murderer and “villain in your history.”

1. "Talk less, smile more."

This is a double-edged sword of a life motto that anyone with a smidge of self-consciousness can relate to. A friend of mine once said that it is “the most relatable thing for me as both a positive and a negative character trait.” And I completely agree with her. I try to be conscious of how much I talk, and how much of my opinion I am sharing, because it could ostracize those of different opinions. I also have to remind myself to smile more, so that I don’t look angry all the time and actually look friendly and approachable. Now, if you compromise yourself and your own opinions in order to talk less and smile more, it becomes a negative character trait, but I relate to Burr’s attempt to find the happy medium.

2. "The art of the compromise."

A quote from the song “The Room Where it Happens,” where Aaron Burr wants desperately to be a part of the conversations that built our nations, but always seems to be on the outside of them. Part of this is his lack of a definable opinion, but this also makes him a brilliant compromiser. That’s a skill that I value greatly. The ability to compromise can solve problems faster, help you make and keep friends and help you build relationships based on mutual agreement. I respect and relate to Burr’s appreciation of compromise.

3. "I'm willing to wait for it."

This is the most relatable quality I see in Burr, and the one I try to emulate in my own life the most. For me, it’s not necessarily his ability to wait for his success to come along, but his ability to know himself well enough to find success his own way. In the face of Hamilton’s many successes, with his “running out of time,” when he “takes and he takes and he takes,” Burr still embraces his style of patiently waiting for his success to come.

In our fast-paced world built on a never-ending fight to the top of the heap, it is easy to forget that there is more than one way to find success. But for those of us that aren’t built for the taking lifestyle, it’s important that we realize this before we run ourselves into the ground. I know that I can find my version of success and happiness in my own way, because like Aaron Burr, "I am an inimitable, I am an original."

And last but most certainly not least...

4. He's a Hufflepuff

This isn’t a song lyric, but it’s been approved by Lin Manuel Miranda and Emma Watson in this interview with BuzzFeed so it's good enough. They approach this in the way that Burr had two choices going in. He could have been a kind, thoughtful, friendly Hufflepuff or an ambitious, cunning Slytherin and in the end he chose Slytherin. But this is an important lesson to all us Hufflepuff’s out there. We must embrace each and every one of our Hufflepuff qualities, and refuse to be swayed towards the ambition and pride that makes Slytherins villainous and gets Gryffindors killed.

In the end, the villain really wasn’t the villain. He was just a misunderstood individual that lost sight of himself somewhere along his journey into politics. So let’s take a step back and “raise a glass” to Alexander Hamilton’s murderer, Aaron Burr.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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