Last night, I had the pleasure of watching Hamilton: The Musical for the first time at Victoria Palace Theatre in London with my sister. This is a musical that I have listened to over a thousand times- probably more- since it was released on Broadway by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I know every word, I’ve read the book it is based on by Ron Chernow, and I know every part of the story that differs from what actually historically happened (or did it happen like this at all? Check out my post on historical accuracy and storytelling).
Regardless, I love this musical, and I love this story. It was such an honor to be able to go see this production, and I am so thankful for my sister for this great surprise. Thanks Brittany!
So why is Hamilton such a powerful story. Last week, I posted about my love of anime and how anime made me change my life for the better. In this post, I concluded that stories make a strong impact for three reasons:
Stories are relatable. Stories are personal. Stories are motivational.
Let’s take a quick glance at each of these three in relation to Hamilton:
Hamilton is Relatable
This musical has a high number of relatable moments, more so than the average story! There are so many times the characters are interacting and you think “oh that’s me”. I think of times when Hamilton talks- or sings- about his aspirations in life. When he talks about his friends. When he talks about his love for Eliza or Angelica. These are all basic moments of human relatableness. For the most part, we all have goals, want friends, and feel love.
However, Hamilton also hits a lot of more specific audiences with its relatableness. For one, I think a lot of writers gravitate to the main character. Hamilton is an avid writer, he believes his ticket to success is his writing, and people are constantly making comments on his writing. Hamilton has the writer’s addiction, and any writer can relate to that.
There are also small moments of relatableness. For immigrants across the world, they can gravitate to lines like “immigrants, we get the job done.” People in New York City can relate to the constant jabs the character make at New Jersey. And people in politics can relate to the context and setting of the second act of the musical.
Hamilton is Personal
Stories have characters. Sometimes the characters are humans. Sometimes they aren’t. Regardless if the characters are bodiless narrators, anthropomorphic objects, or humans, they are always “persons” in the loose sense of the term. They have temperaments. They have motivations. They make choices. They have some kind of environment they are a part of.
In other words, they are personal. They are persons! We get to learn all, or some, of these elements of the characters, whether they are main or supporting characters. We get sucked into a narrative, and even though there may be a lot of relatable moments, we get to see the lives and thoughts of people & things different from ourselves.
How this applies to Hamilton, or any story, is obvious.
Hamilton is Motivational
I don’t know about you, but doesn’t Hamilton make you want to take some sort of action? Whether it is to “talking less, smiling more” or “reading every treatise on the shelf”, Hamilton is so powerful in inspiring people to do something.
What motivates me about the story is linked to why I find it so relatable. Generally, these three elements of the power of a story are linked to each other. For me, this story motivates me to write. So much so that I woke up a couple hours before my sister today just so I could write this post downstairs in the pub for the Camden Enterprise Hotel.
It also motivates me to be constantly improving and moving forward, even in the event of a major shortcoming. In Hamilton, the main character makes a huge mistake in cheating on his wife, paying hush money, and then publishing the entire experience to the American public. However, he doesn’t give up. He still tries to pursue the love of Eliza, and he still ends up voicing his opinions in the Election of 1800. I think that is quite motivation.
Hamilton like all successful stories is relatable, personal, and motivational.
Have you seen Hamilton? Ask yourself: why is this story relatable, personal, and motivational? Think more about the power of stories.
Meet the Author : John Knetemann
From Denver, Colorado. Educated in Rapid City, South Dakota. Living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The most epic and daring content writer you will find on the east side of the Amstel... And sometimes the west side too. I am from the land of mountains, but now live in the land of very small hills and canals. Truly a native of the internet, I work with companies to build adventurous content, engaging social media identities, and addictively informative email campaigns.