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Written by Jessica Weed
Alexander Hamilton is the protagonist of the musical. The entire show follows his rise and fall during the American Revolution and first few decades of American history. Born on an island in the Caribbean to a poor family and eventually orphaned, Hamilton led a rough childhood. At nineteen he goes to America to get an education. Smart and extremely motivated, Hamilton does everything necessary to “rise up.” His writing brings him a lot of attention, as does his tendency to argue with just about everyone. Passionate and opinionated, Hamilton frequently criticizes Aaron Burr for not having beliefs.
Hamilton becomes George Washington’s right hand man during the Revolutionary War, and therefore is integral to America’s victory. After the war, Hamilton serves as the first Secretary of the Treasury. He is immediately removed from the president’s cabinet after John Adams became president. Hamilton’s financial plan lasts long after he is removed from the cabinet. Hamilton also creates the coast guard and the New York post.
Hamilton dies in a duel with Aaron Burr.
The main antagonist of the musical, Aaron Burr is described as one of Hamilton’s first friends in America. Though the two argued during the first act of the musical, they still considered each other friends, until Hamilton’s career continuously moved forward and Burr’s became stagnant. When Hamilton endorses Thomas Jefferson for President instead of Burr, Burr becomes so enraged that he challenges Hamilton to a duel, during which he shoots and kills his adversary. Shortly after, Burr expresses regret at killing Hamilton.
Though the antagonist, Burr is a sympathetic and complex character. He is similar to Hamilton in that he is just as intelligent and just as motivated, but he is different because instead of tackling everything head-on like Hamilton, Burr waits and sees how things will turn out before taking action. He also does not have strong opinions like Hamilton. He switches parties just to run for a seat in the Senate, which would advance his position, and happens to replace Hamilton’s father-in-law, Philip Schuyler.
George Washington is a general during the American Revolution and the first President of the United Sates. During the war he is often frustrated with the colonial troops for being so weak and afraid. Instead of stepping forward to meet the enemy, they step backward to shoot from afar. Washington acts as a sort of mentor for Hamilton and comes to depend on Hamilton as his right hand man. He dies sometime between stepping down from the presidency and Hamilton’s death.
Elizabeth "Eliza" Schuyler
Eliza falls in love with Alexander the moment she sees him. They soon marry, and though Hamilton cheats on her and dies fifty years before she does, Eliza never stops loving him. Eliza, the “best of wives and best of women,” is described as being reserved, trusting, and kind. When Hamilton dies she honors his memory by doing everything she thinks he would have done if he had more time. She interviews every soldier who fought with him, tries to make sense of thousands of pages of his writing, raises funds for the Washington Monument, speaks out against slavery, and opens the first private orphanage in New York City.
Portrayed as an intelligent and witty social butterfly, Angelica falls in love with Alexander Hamilton, but has obligations to her family to marry rich and social climb. She gives Hamilton to her sister, Eliza. It is suggested that Hamilton also loves Angelica. He writes a letter to Angelica in which he opens, “My Dearest, Angelica.” Then, when he is alone in the city, he states that he is “longing for Angelica.” Angelica is at Hamilton’s side when he dies.
John Laurens becomes good friends with Hamilton. He works to end slavery and creates the first black battalion, which fought in the American Revolution in exchange for freedom. When Washington forbids Hamilton from dueling Charles Lee, Laurens does it instead. He dies sometime during the Revolution.
Marquis de Lafayette
A French soldier, Lafayette becomes friends with Hamilton and helps fight in the American Revolution. He obtains supplies and assistance from France, which gives the Americans an advantage against the British, allowing them to win the war at Yorktown. Lafayette returns to France to bring freedom to his people but ultimately fails.
A soldier and a friend of Hamilton’s, Hercules Mulligan acts as a spy for the colonists.
In 1789, Thomas Jefferson returns to America from France and immediately becomes the first Secretary of State. He disagrees with Hamilton on every possible political issue and fights for state rights, protecting the interests of the South. Threatened by Hamilton’s power, Jefferson tries to find something illegal that Hamilton has done to get him in trouble, but only uncovers the sex-scandal with Maria Reynolds, which Hamilton publicly admits to before Jefferson can use it against him. Jefferson runs for president when Washington steps down. He loses to John Adams, but runs again the following election and wins, due to Hamilton’s endorsement.
Though he initially helped Hamilton write the Federalist Papers, Madison becomes Jefferson’s sidekick in trying to tear Hamilton down.
Alexander and Eliza’s oldest son, Philip, is a self-proclaimed poet. He learns French and piano from his mother. He has the same intelligence and charm as his father. He dies in a duel, defending his father’s honor.
Being mistreated by her husband, Maria Reynolds appeals to Hamilton and has a month-long affair with him. This scandal is one of the key events that contribute to Hamilton’s declining career.
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