Hamilton Irony

Jefferson's Slaves (Situational Irony)

Jefferson often talks about America as if it were free, yet he himself owns slaves. When he first arrives he says "looking at the rolling fields I can’t believe that we are free," despite the fact that this is where the slaves would have been working. He also blames Hamilton for the fact that "out poorest citizens, our farmers, live ration to ration." Even though a lot of farmers had to work for little money, slaves were forced to do the same work for free. Jefferson's hypocrisy is an irony that Hamilton calls attention to at various points and which serves to help the audience see that Jefferson is a less-than-trustworthy and somewhat disingenuous character.

Eliza ensures the honor of Hamilton's legacy (Situational Irony)

Hamilton is obsessed with the idea of carefully building and preserving his legacy, yet it is his quick temper and lack of control that causes most of the damage to his reputation, namely in the Reynolds and Adams Pamphlets. While Hamilton is an incredible mind and hugely influential in the founding of America, he tends to be rather indiscreet and outrageous in his action and behavior. Contrastingly, his wife Eliza is discreet and careful, and wants nothing to do with politics, wishing her husband would take a break from his work to be more of a family man. Ultimately, it is thanks to her that Hamilton's legacy survives, as she fights hard to uphold his dreams and beliefs. While she was always the one who was outwardly less concerned with legacy than Hamilton, and while she has every reason to resent him after his affair, it is Eliza who makes the biggest difference in the Hamilton family legacy, a rather ironic turn of fate.

Duels (situational irony)

Before every duel we are reminded that “most disputes die and no one shoots." However, in each duel within the musical, someone is either injured or killed. In the writing, Miranda tries to reassure us that nothing will happen, despite the fact that this is never the case. Within each duel a gun is fired, counter to what we have been told, and something fateful happens.

We know Burr will kill Hamilton from the beginning (Dramatic Irony)

In the very first number, Aaron Burr introduces himself, and part of his characterization of himself is the admission that he will be the one to shoot Hamilton. In this way, the climax of the narrative arc is revealed to the audience mere minutes into the play. This creates a scenario of dramatic irony, in that the audience watches the entire course of the play knowing that the protagonist will die. Because this play is based on real historical events, Hamilton's death is common knowledge and should come as no surprise to a history buff, but Hamilton takes it one step further by acknowledging that the death will occur later on in the play. The audience must then watch the whole play knowing about Hamilton's death, while Hamilton and the characters remain ignorant about their fate, which creates dramatic irony.