Why The Broadway Musical Hamilton Is A Work of Genius
Start writing a post
Community

Why The Broadway Musical Hamilton Is A Work of Genius

Let's analyze Broadway's arguably most popular musical, cause why not?

384
Why The Broadway Musical Hamilton Is A Work of Genius
Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash

So up until high school, I was never into Broadway. I was also never into rap. So how come I came to love Hamilton, a Broadway musical that is largely, if not entirely, hip-hop and rap?

I always like to say it's in the words. Let me explain that for you:

There are three parts to any good song, or musical piece: melody, rhythm, and words. Now most people, myself included, like a song because of the melody or rhythm. When I listen to Bazzi's 3:15, or Lord Huron's The Night We Met, I'm not listening for the incredible meaningful words. It's the impactful melody, the pulsing rhythm. Or, to put in more familiar words, you can vibe to it.

But with Broadway, it's different. A plethora of musicals contain soundtracks with impeccable melodies and immaculate rhythms. So what's the hitting feature? The words.

I'm no history buff. In fact Hamilton was quite the educational musical, entertaining and educating its viewers on hidden truths of American history, with a few exaggerations and details left out. But it wasn't the extensive portrayal of the Revolution that drew me in, it was the incredible phrases and rhymes written out by the ultimate genius, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The first song I ever heard was Cabinet Battle 1, which aside from giving out the best roast of all time (iykyk), was a carefully crafted work of genius. Using exact and near rhymes, end and internal rhymes, Miranda brought in emotion, reason, fact and fiction into Jefferson's part. And then, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, he went and made Hamilton's part even better, refuting every point of Jefferson's, adding his own opinion, and inserting a few comical roasts, all while maintaining a steady rap beat and rhyming his way through every phrase. I never knew the best rap battle I would ever witness would be in Broadway musical.

And every time you listen to the soundtrack, or just one of the songs, you discover something new. For example during the 9th grade we were reading Macbeth in class, and I listened to the tune Take a Break as I was, funnily enough, taking a break from my work. Suddenly, I caught hints of words like "Macduff", "Birnham Woods" and "Dunsinane". I rewinded the song and realized that within 2 lines, Miranda fit an entire allusion to a work 400 years ago into a current rap number. I mean, even if you're not the biggest fan, you have to admit that the literative creativity of the musical is absolutely incredible.

Miranda truly brought a forgotten story to life, a bygone Founding Father exist before your very eyes and ears. The fact is, even without its musical ingenuity, Hamilton is a work of literature on its own. It tells a typical story of historical fiction, with a mysterious main character surrounded by a tragic past, an underdog with a thirst to prove himself, and his adventures with war, love, camaraderie, conflict, betrayal, and finally treason.

When you dissect the work, there are 5 major themes, each intertwined to make Hamilton's story as incredibly told as it is. The first, most obvious one is the foil between Hamilton and Burr; we are introduced to their contrasting ideals early in the musical with the piece "My Shot", where Burr expresses his preference to keep his opinions unknown thus eliminating opposal, while Hamilton argues to voice his opinions loud and clear to prevent mistrust. This theme continues until the end of the musical, until Hamilton's opposition to Burr's ideals has cost Burr so much politically that he must challenge him to a duel. The second theme is about satisfaction, or lack thereof. We see this emerge in the masterpiece "Satisfied", as well as glimpses in "Non-Stop", until it contributed to his scandal revealed in "The Reynolds Pamphlet". The third theme is directly a byproduct of Hamilton's inability to be satisfied: his inability to stop writing like he's "running out of time". It not only foreshadows a tragic ending, but also adds a pace to the musical, in addition to the frequent rhetorical questions pondering "When is Death going to get me"? But while others in the musical chastise him for writing so much, Hamilton argues that it's what made him who he is. bringing me to the fourth theme: an orphaned immigrant rising to success; the true emblem of the American dream.

With a cast mostly of people of color, Hamilton tells a story more than just that of Alexander Hamilton; it shows how the ideals of our nations were never lived up to. Thomas Jefferson preached against slavery but still owned them, George Washington preached against political parties but factions ended up forming nonetheless. So it implies that America "you great unfinished symphony", is now in the hands of the colored, the people that didn't have a say in the first place. And now more than ever it matters what they have to say, it matters that we try and live up to the ideals for a perfect union that our Founding Fathers dreamed for us.

I have yet to hear or see another Broadway musical. And I have yet to listen to another rap song as many times as I have replayed the Hamilton soundtrack. Because it's not just another performance. 11 years of Lin-Manuel Miranda's life will contribute to a lifetime of happiness for me and so many others. So thank you, Lin-Manuel. And thank you Alexander Hamilton.

I highly recommend watching Hamilton: The Musical on Disney+!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

185540

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1639870

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1027428
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

933106
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

609688
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

392405
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

504428

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments