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Written by Jessica Weed
“Talk less, smile more. Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.”
This is the advice that Aaron Burr gives to Alexander Hamilton, to which Hamilton often counters, “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?” Burr’s lack of opinion describes Burr’s entire political career, as his government campaigns are based more on his personal merit than his political views. In comparison, Hamilton is outspoken and opinionated, causing conflict between the two characters. When Hamilton tries to pass his financial plan through Congress, he admits that there are some circumstances when he should listen to Burr’s advice and “talk less, smile more.”
“I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy, and hungry, and I’m not throwing away my shot.”
Though Hamilton was born on an island in the Caribbean, here he claims America is his country. In America, Hamilton has opportunities he would have never had in his home town. In America, he has a chance to do something great with his life, and he isn’t going to waste that chance.
“Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away.”
Here, Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan, and Hamilton salute the imminent revolution. Though there is a lot at stake, Lauren’s claim that nobody can ever take away one’s freedom emphasizes the theme of hope in the musical.
“Look around, look around, the revolution is happening in New York.”
This quote sums up Angelica’s character. She has a hunger for excitement and freedom, similar to Hamilton, and wants desperately to be a part of the revolution.
“Dying is easy, young man, living is harder.”
Hamilton is eager to lay down his life for America, even dreams of dying like a martyr, but Washington tells him that dying is too easy. The real heroes are the ones that survive and make the best out of what life hands them. In this case, those who survive the war must build America into a successful country with a whole new type of government.
“I’m willing to wait for it.”
Burr builds his entire life based on waiting. He waits for opportunities to present themselves, rather than going after the things he wants the way Hamilton does.
“I go to France for more funds, I come back with more guns and ships, and so the balance shifts.”
This line shows Lafayette’s importance in the Revolutionary War. He secures aid from France, which gives America an advantage over Great Britain, allowing them to win the war.
“Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”
Here, Burr is frustrated that Hamilton is advancing through law school faster than he is. He wonders why Hamilton is always writing, why he can never take a break. Simultaneously, Burr is amazed that Hamilton has so much endurance and hasn’t burnt out yet. This question about Hamilton’s time running out repeats throughout the musical, until his time finally runs out.
“I want to be in the room where is happens.”
Burr is frustrated that Hamilton, Washington, and Jefferson settled a large conflict over a closed-door dinner. He recognizes that many people will be left out of decision-making in government, and expresses his desire to be on the inside next time.
“You’ve married an Icarus. He’s flown too close to the sun.”
After Hamilton admits to an affair with Maria Reynolds, Angelica tells Eliza that Hamilton was so worried about advancing his political career that he ended up ruining both his career and his home life.
“I have never agreed with Jefferson once. We have fought on like seventy-five different fronts. But when all is said and all is done, Jefferson has beliefs, Burr has none.”
Hamilton chooses to endorse Thomas Jefferson for president, though they disagree on almost everything. To Hamilton, having one’s own opinions is more important than what those opinions are. To Hamilton, Burr’s tendency to follow the path that advances his career, rather than the one that supports his ideals is more dangerous than Jefferson’s southern beliefs.
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