Hamilton Plot for Dummies - A Beginners Guide to the Musical
Even if you’re not a musical fan, you have a secret urge to see Hamilton. Why? You want to be clued into what everyone else is talking about. Just like you decide to watch that show on Netflix because you keep seeing memes about it and you want to get in on the joke.
But Hamilton is a lot more complicated than any Netflix show, at least, anyone set in current times. Since Hamilton is set in the past, not only does your brain have to keep track of the fast-moving plot, but it has to think about old customs and events, too. Remember that one history teacher you had who always tried to make class “fun?” Hamilton is what it would look like if they succeeded. Want a quick summary before you go? Here’s an outline of the Hamilton plot for dummies!
Who is Hamilton?
Alexander Hamilton was never president, so let’s get that out of the way first. He was, however, central to America’s founding and the architect of how we think of capitalism, today.
The Play Begins
When the curtains first go up, you’ll see young Alexander Hamilton, recounting how he was a bastard and now an orphan. There are quick references to how he pulled himself up by his bootstraps before it moves to war scenes. Hamilton makes some important friends on the battlefield, including George Washington.
He started out in a non-combat role in the war, drawing up plans and strategizing. But never happy Hamilton got bored of that and wanted in on the action. He was an integral part of the battle at Yorktown, VA, against General Cornwallis. If that rings a bell, it’s because that was the battle, in 1781, that won America the war. He doesn’t die in the war, and when it’s over he ends up meeting some very nice women. Those women are the Schuyler sisters, and they internally fight over him.
Pretty, Strong Ladies
Yes, though this play is historical, there are still some pretty and strong women in it. The main women in the show are the Schuyler sisters, Angelica, Elizabeth, and Peggy. Hamilton and his frenemy meet the sisters at the part, where two out of the three falls in love with dashing young Alexander. He ends up marrying one of them, Elizabeth, whose sister has given her own happiness so that her sister can have a good life. Over the course of their marriage (and exceeding the play), the two had eight children together. One of whose deaths you’ll get to see, in a later act.
Making the US Constitution
If there was anything Hamilton loved to do more than sing in rap form, it was writing things. Things that are so full of pomp and circumstance, that they’re hard to read today. One of those things was the US Constitution, so you can thank him for the drawn-out language you had to memorize in fifth grade.
Even when the constitution was written, Hamilton was still writing legal essays, which are in the national library. With the constitution written, George Washington takes on the role of the first president. He appoints Hamilton as the Secretary of Treasury.
The National Bank
Hamilton was a writer, but he had a head for numbers as well. He was the first person to create a national bank, which still functions, today. And since a bank (and a country) needs money to run, he figured out trade patterns pretty quickly, too. He was the one who reached out to Britain, who wasn’t very happy with the US at the time, to create a trade relationship. No word on if they ever paid the British back for all that tea they dumped in the sea.
If you thought men didn’t cheat on their wives in the 1800s, think again. Hamilton made the first news headlines as a politician with a sex scandal. And this was in the time that wives had to just put up with affairs – they were still technically property.
Death by Burr
The frenemy we mentioned above was Aaron Burr, who was more of an enemy than a friend, at the end. After Hamilton helped his competition win the New York governorship, Burr challenged his friend to a duel. And that duel didn’t go well for Hamilton. He, like his son, didn’t shoot at the other person first, and therefore, got shot. He died after suffering for almost an entire day, in the arms of his wife (who bore him at least two more children after the affair).
Hamilton Plot for Dummies
There you have it, a quick guide to everything (well, the big things) that happen in Hamilton, The Musical.
See it all in person by scoring cheap Hamilton Tickets, here.