It’s been, what, 3 years? since Alexander Hamilton came back into the minds of anyone but history majors and polysci majors and I dunno who else. All because of Lin-Manuel Miranda who’s amazing play and soundtrack entered the lives of all who would hear it, even going so far as adding to movements and pushing them to the forefront. Immigrants – We get the job done. While I’m not American, the issue of immigration seems pretty relevant to us in Trinidad, with Venezuelans and Guyanese, and small islanders coming across. I swear I get upset when people I thought I knew end up dropping some pretty crass and, quite frankly dehumanizing thoughts about the people coming in doing what they don’t wanna do, if it means what they see as a better life.
That isn’t the point, though I mean it is relevant, and that’s what’s amazing about Hamilton. No one can say it hasn’t influenced our culture since it’s inception.
Now, I’ll let to the crux of the matter.
Y’all know I’ve already dropped posts about the 2 characters that I love, for reason because they are decidedly not the best – hated, even (Reminds me, I have to revisit Wicked to address Glinda as a Slytherin and Elphaba as a Gryffindor – maybe Gryffindor. I am convinced, but I’m gonna need proof. Glinda is def Slytherin tho.)
But Mr Aaron Burr.
I fully agree that Hamilton is written as though Eliza’s doing research into the men that Alexander served with, and looking into his writing and every written piece surrounding him. She also interviewed the people that survived him, enemies and allies. There has to be something more to Alexander’s story. Believe me, as much as I love Aaron, I do sympathise with her. Also, she’s a better woman than me.
I think that a lot of this, the entire play is written as if through Burr’s eyes, and we see it. He introduces the play. He leads the chorus. Much of what we get from him is personal. We get insight into his thoughts, into his fears, his desires, and his personal recollections of events.
What’s personal about Alexander, I believe it’s only made known because of what was written, either from what Eliza found or experienced herself, or what was published. We get a more intimate account of Aaron’s beliefs and motivations, where Alexander’s were presented as the narrative hero almost? I wonder if that’s the trope I want to use. But he is a hero trope.
Aaron Burr may be the antihero, but he is not a villain. He’s hella relatable. He takes caution. He understands that everyone has hidden motives. He has his own. His motivations are human. He doesn’t want to hurt people for the sake of hurting people. He wants to advance, but not at the cost of another person’s death. At least not immediately.
He’s competent, but he’s thwarted and frustrated by Hamilton. Not to say that he doesn’t appreciate the dude. He does. But there’re some things they could never overcome. It’s a clash of impulse vs caution. Overt vs covert. It was natural that they would butt heads. Expected even.
I maintain Burr was not the villain. He did shoot Alexander. But he immediately regretted it. He says it in the opening song. He screams even as he pulled the trigger. He looked at the scene immediately after as people rushed to get Alexander the help he needed.
Honestly, he reminds me of Javert. They both kinda do. Alex and Javert’s tunnel vision toward an end. Aaron and Javert and the antagonistic role a good man was assigned, even in their own experiences.
I think there’s nothing more frustrating that realising you’re not the protagonist in your own life.
But at least Aaron survived. He’s a lot more well rounded than Javert, luckily, understanding the nature of men. So he’s less likely to commit suicide. (just murder.)
I adore slimy characters. But that’s not Aaron Burr. Poor dude was frustrated by an upstart turned peer, who at one point could’ve been considered a friend. They had many civil conversations, about life outside of the war, and outside of the workplace. Alexander even considered him an ally. So they were friends, just vastly different.
I just love him so much, you guys!
It’s sort of like my love of Hawkeye, even if the things I like about them are completely different. I could come up with all sorts of examples of what I like about both, but if I had to write a thesis about it, I’d try and fail. (See above)
But ohmaigawsh do I love Burr.