Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre, Cinq: On Philip Hamilton
The poor kid never had a chance, did he?
"And if this child shares a fraction of your smile, or a fragment of your mind, look out world, that would be enough..."
The idolizing - and dearly, dearly beloved - first son of Alexander Hamilton, he was determined and doomed to follow in his father's brash and brilliant footsteps.
"The scholars say I've got the same virtuosity and brains as my Pops, the ladies say my brain's not where the resemblance stops..."
Now, a little note before continuing. I know nothing about the real Philip Hamilton. I do know that the musical stays true to the essence of the history while taking artistic liberties with the finer details. I have also resisted looking up said details while I continue to revel for now in the masterpiece that is Hamilton: An American Musical for a few more weeks (ahem...or months).
But, for someone I didn’t know existed before three months ago, the emotional impact wrought by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genius musical mind still has me bawling, like, "The bastard shot on seven! He didn’t count to ten!" every time I listen to “Blow Us All Away”.
His is the epitome of promise cut off in its prime. And throughout the musical - from his introduction as a baby in “Dear Theodosia”, to his excited, childlike rhymes on his 9th birthday in “Take A Break”, to his debut as a swaggering young man, "the latest graduate from King’s College", in “Blow Us All Away” - everything pointed to a life brimming full and ready to take up the mantle of his father’s legacy, public disgrace be damned.
"My daddy's trying to start America's bank - un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq!!"
He was so proud of his father, no matter what. As a Hamilton, he was raised to understand that all he had was his good name, and how dare anyone smear his father's - ergo his - legacy in his presence?
George Eacker, sounding like a bored rich kid with too much time and restlessness to spare, became his first target to prove his allegiance to the family name.
Brash, determined, and not one to back down from a fight, yet honourable to a fault, Philip was willing to let the whole thing go by shooting into the air during the duel, in accordance with his still-idealistic - if ageing and tired - father’s advice.
But this idealism that led him to believe in the righteous behaviour of honourable men facing each other in a duel was not so easily extended by the other side. More eager to get things over and done with so he could return to his play than concerned with the toll of having blood on his hands, it's a wonder George Eacker doesn't occupy Aaron Burr levels of historical infamy, at least in the context of the Hamilton fandom.
"I did exactly as you said, Pa, I held my head up high..."
"Even before we got to ten, Pa, I was aiming for the sky... I was aiming for the sky..."
You did it, though, Philip. You blew us all away.