Hamilton Summary and Analysis of Part 2: Marriage and War


At Eliza and Hamilton's wedding, Angelica, the maid of honor, raises a toast to the bride and groom. She then tells the audience the story from her own perspective. She narrates that she was the first to see Hamilton and fall for him, given their kindred intelligence and ideologies. However, because she knew she could not marry a poor man, Angelica introduced Hamilton to Eliza. She describes her sacrifice and the fact that at least when he is married to Eliza she can still be close to him.

In the next section, the men sing a light-hearted, drunker version of "The Story of Tonight." They joke about Hamilton's marriage, and the fact that he is no longer free, and mock Burr, as they have heard rumors about his "woman on the side." Burr admits to Hamilton that he is in love with a woman who is already married to a British officer. Hamilton tells him to "go get her" regardless, seemingly unconcerned with dismissing the sanctity of marriage.

In his own song, Burr explains his situation with Theodosia, with whom he is in love. Their affair is a secret while her husband fights in Georgia. Over the course of the song, we learn more about Burr's ideology and his reasoning. He has a formidable family reputation to keep up and feels he can do so only if he waits for the right opportunity in every situation. He acknowledges the main difference between himself and Hamilton is that Hamilton comes from nothing and has very little to lose and everything to gain, while Burr feels that he must keep a tight grasp on everything he already has.

A turning point in the war. Congress is not supporting the fight as they promised they would, and the British forces are winning. Washington realizes that the only way they can win the war is by striking quickly and getting out, doing as much damage as possible. Hamilton wants to be in command of the army, but Washington promotes General Charles Lee instead. In the Battle of Monmouth, Lee goes against orders and retreats, and the battle ends in a stalemate. Lee then blames Washington, and Laurens challenges Lee to a duel, on Hamilton's suggestion.

As Laurens prepares for the duel, the cast sings a song called "Ten Duel Commandments" all about the rules of dueling. Burr tries to reason with Hamilton that duels are foolish.

Laurens shoots Lee in the side and wins the duel, which makes Washington furious at Hamilton for his encouragement and indirect participation in a duel. As he berates Hamilton for jeopardizing their cause, Hamilton gets angrier and angrier until he snaps, frustrated at being treated like a child. His rage is all the more heightened because of the abandonment he suffered from his father. Washington sends Hamilton home, angrily.

Hamilton returns home, where Eliza tells him she's pregnant. She admits that she wrote to the general about it and this is likely why he refused to give Hamilton a command that could end his life. Eliza tries to console Hamilton about his situation, telling him that as long as he is alive to be her husband, things will be alright. She sings about the fact that she doesn’t need money or a legacy, only the knowledge that he will be there to raise their son, and that one day people will talk about them in the future.

Aaron Burr introduces the Marquis de Lafayette on his return to America. Lafayette bursts into the fastest rap of the musical, announcing that he has earned the support of the French, which will help the Continental Army. With the weapons he has brought, Washington assures Hamilton that they can turn the tides of the war if they cut off the British navy at Yorktown, and asks him to return to the front and take a command.

Washington brings up his fears to Hamilton on the eve of the battle, telling him that he cannot control his legacy. Washington tells Hamilton about the mistakes he made early in his career, and explains that the reason he has held Hamilton back is so he doesn't make the same mistakes.

The battle of Yorktown. Hamilton and Lafayette meet up and prepare for battle as Hamilton finally takes his place as a commander. Hamilton is noticeably less brash now that he knows Eliza and his future son are waiting for him. His old friends join him in the battle, but Laurens is in South Carolina. Hamilton triumphantly leads the ensemble in a reprise of "My Shot." Mulligan has been working as a spy, using his job as a tailor to collect information from behind enemy lines. After the battle, the British surrender and America takes its victory.

King George returns, having just lost the war. He sings a song asking the Americans what they plan to do next, and mocks them for having no idea how to survive on their own.

Aaron Burr's mistress' husband has died, and Theodosia and Burr have married and had a daughter, also named Theodosia. Around the same time, Hamilton’s son, Philip, is born. Both new fathers sing to their children and tell them that they will do everything for them, in spite of not having had father figures of their own. The births of the two children coincide with the birth of the new nation.

Eliza abruptly delivers the news that Laurens was killed by British soldiers after the war was over.


For all its theatrical and dramaturgical innovations, Hamilton is a rather straightforward narrative, unfurling the linear biographical details of Alexander Hamilton's life with each new song. Because it is a musical, it can afford this clipped pace, and in the course of a single song countless details get revealed—desires, dreams, disappointments, interactions, events. The speed of the story is very fast, and Lin-Manuel Miranda fits so many different details into each moment, aided by the designers and choreographer, in order to create a full-bodied spectacle.

The speed of the musical is additionally enhanced by the styles of the music. Both musical theater music and rap music can move at particularly speedy tempos, and communicate a great deal in a short amount of time. The rapping sequences contain far more words, and they move at a faster pace than a traditional song might, thus allowing for the dissemination of more information in a shorter amount of time. The audience is inundated with text and historical information, all filtered through a vernacular style, and has no choice but to go with its flow.

In this section, we learn more about the personal lives and inner motivations of the various characters. While there is still a great deal of exposition and biographical information that gets communicated through the numbers, as the audience gets to know the characters better, we learn more about what drives them and what scares them. Two melancholy ballads start off this section; first Angelica sings about her unrealized and impossible love for Alexander Hamilton, how she can never have what she most desperately wants, then Aaron Burr sings a song about the qualities that distinguish him from Hamilton, and the events that have shaped him. Each of these characters sings directly to the audience, and there are no other characters onstage to listen to their stories.

In terms of the overall narrative, matters are getting more complicated, as Hamilton faces some personal struggles with his superiors, the American troops face setbacks in the revolution, and complex emotions are revealed. While the play maintains a certain facile and light touch, the issues faced by the characters become heavier, and this is reflected in the text and the music. The issues that the characters are thinking about become more profound and existential, as they worry not only about their well-being, but also their legacies and impact.

With Washington's blessing, Hamilton takes on the leadership position he has long coveted. While he is more conservative now that he has a wife and a son to worry about, Hamilton is finally given a place in which to express his brazen confidence and desire to work for what he believes in. In typical musical theater style, he recalls his initial inclinations and desires in a reprise of "My Shot," rapping about the realization of his desire to lead.