May 7th, 2020


I'm the One Who Paid for It

I believe that for most people, knowing you have done wrong is a worse feeling than being wronged.

However, when this is addressed in narrative it usually doesn't go well. The wrong-doer is woobified, and/or the real harm they've done to others is downplayed. People who criticize them for their wrong-doing are undermined or even vilified.

But in the Hamilton musical, I think Lin-Manuel Miranda pulled it off.

Aaron Burr's regret in the penultimate song of the musical manages, in my opinion, to be sympathetic without falling too hard into self-pity.

"History obliterates, in every picture it paints
It paints me and all my mistakes
When Alexander aimed at the sky
He may have been the first one to die
But I'm the one who paid for it
I survived, but I paid for it"

Although I think it also helps that the musical ends not with Burr's remorse, but with Hamilton's widow's grief.