Hamilton An American Musical vs. The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark

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Hamilton An American Musical vs. The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark

A typical play follows a traditional format of five acts, and is divided into three main areas of protasis (introduction), epistasis (main part), and catastrophe (ending). Each of these parts and acts includes five main areas. The first one is the prologue that involves outlining of characters and the play setting (Freeman 202). The second area encompasses the second and the third acts that comprise the conflict creation and the rise of action. Thus, these two constitute epistasis. The fourth area is the climax that ends the third act (Freeman 201). The fourth act incorporates the reduction of action towards conclusion. The fourth and the fifth acts embrace the catastrophe. The traditional plays such as The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare follow this conventional structure of a tragedy. However, the musical play Hamilton An American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarther appear to deviate from this norm in the structure of a play. Instead, it has only two acts with their own complete dramas to some extent. Therefore, Hamilton An American Musical defies the traditional play structure with two complete dramas in one play defined by a couple of acts as opposed to its classical counterpart The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark that involves five acts, all six areas and three parts.

The most conspicuous difference in the structure between Hamilton An American Musical and the traditional plays sampled by The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark is the number of acts with the former having only two instead of five found in the latter. Miranda and McCarther include just two acts in the musical play in outlining the life of Alexander Hamilton as one of the founding fathers of the USA. The first part involves the struggle for the independence of the country that consists of the onset of Hamiltons life on the Caribbean, his activities in the USA and the war for the autonomy of Americans from the colonialists (Miranda and McCarther 99). Then, the second act covers the events immediately after the independence until the time when Hamilton dies. Thus, the second part is highly political and indicates that Hamilton’s life was divided in two parts with the second one concluding that politics informed about his death while the inspiration for independence founded the struggle for the free USA (Miranda and McCarther 103). Therefore, Miranda and McCarther opted for the two acts for each of the parts of Hamiltons life. On the contrary, Shakespeare considered that the tragedy would be adequately outlined in five acts, as it is evident in the additional structure of the play. It presents the characters and ends with the moral story or lesson (Freeman 208; Shakespeare 390). As a result, the number of acts is one of the most apparent differences between the musical play by Miranda and McCarther and its classical counterpart written by Shakespeare.

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The second aspect that differentiates Miranda and McCarthers musical play from the classical play of Shakespeare with regard to the structure is the prologue that introduces characters and the setting. For instance, Thomas Jefferson is fully presented only in the second act without prior introduction in the first act since he is merely a political figure rather than the fighter for state independence (Miranda and McCarther 101). Nevertheless, Miranda and McCarther acquaint with all the characters in the first act starting with Alexander Hamilton himself as a Caribbean orphan who moves to the USA where he also has no friends or relatives. Then, the authors present the other major characters in the musical play, mainly freedom fighters Aaron Burr, John Laurens, Hercules Mulligan, and Marquis de Lafayette (Miranda and McCarther 32). Indeed, Miranda and McCarther introduce the famous female characters of the musical play, such as Peggy, Eliza and Angelica. Conversely, Shakespeare only includes one prologue for the entire play in The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark by introducing all the characters once. For example, Prince and King Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius and Horatio are presented to the audience (Shakespeare 15). Therefore, the Shakespeares play follows the structure of the single play with one introduction while that of Miranda and McCarther has two prologues for each of the two acts. Hence, the structure of the musical play Hamilton An American Musical differs from that of its classical counterparts, in particular The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark regarding the introduction of characters and setting.

Thirdly, Hamilton An American Musical also differs in terms of structure from The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark with respect to creating conflicts in the play. Miranda and McCarther use the plot activities after the prologue in each act to introduce the disputes. For example, the first act involves demonstration that the colonialist is the main rival of Hamilton after he settles in the USA having left the Caribbean (Miranda and McCarther 13). The conflicts between Hamilton, as a devoted freedom fighter, and the colonialists eventually lead to him being enlisted as a soldier of the army to struggle with the forces of the ruling power. In the second act, Miranda and McCarther depict Hamilton as the enemy of his own countrymen after their independence, namely Burr and those who opposed the finance reforms championed by Hamilton. In the traditional structure of a play, however, conflicts are brought in the second act where the rival parties as well as the issues that start the feud are presented (Freeman 213). Therefore, in The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark, conflicts appear in the second act where Hamlet’s dispute with Claudius becomes apparent to the audience. In fact, Hamlet denounces some of his own insiders, such as Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, because Claudius killed his father, who was the king, became the ruler and married his mother Gertrude (Shakespeare 285). Thus, Hamilton An American Musical alters the regular structure of a play that encompasses only one set of conflicts as it is evidenced by The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark written by Shakespeare.

Fourthly, rising actions appear twice in the musical play Hamilton An American Musical unlike the Shakespeares work. Miranda and McCarther include rising actions in each of the two acts to demonstrate their completeness as drama. Moreover, they use activities related to the fight for independence in the first act comprehensively. For instance, participation of Hamilton in the war for freedom alongside Commander Washington belongs to the actions that help achieve independence (Miranda and McCarther 105). In the second act, Miranda and McCarther describe the feud among the founding politicians of the country as the center of attention. For example, friendship of Burr and Hamilton changes to hostility when the latter decides to support Jefferson. The previous activities also involve Hamilton in creating a political environment unsuitable for President Washington, who resigns and is succeeded by John Adams (Miranda and McCarther 129). On the contrary, Shakespeare only uses act three to elaborate on rising actions in The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. The play includes the scandal revolving around Claudius, Polonius, Ophelia, Gertrude, and Hamlet with the rivalry becoming fatal when Hamlet kills Polonius by mistake while aiming to stub Claudius to death for murdering his father when Hamlet was young (Shakespeare 255). Therefore, rising actions are found twice in Hamilton An American Musical thus making its structure different from the classical plays.

Moreover, Hamilton An American Musical deviates from the given play of Shakespeare with regard to the climax in the plot. In fact, Miranda and McCarther appear to have two climaxes in two acts; hence, consideration of this play as two complete dramas is accurate. The first climax is the entrance of Hamilton as the first commander of Yorktown in the war and the subsequent victory due to his efforts. Thus, this action marks the highest point of Hamilton’s achievement in the fight for American independence (Miranda and McCarther 109). Then, Miranda and McCarther also introduce the second climax in the consequent act when Jefferson wins the presidency against Burr due to Hamilton’s endorsement. It indicates the end of the battle of political supremacy between Burr and Hamilton with the latter appearing more powerful. By contrast, Shakespeare provides a contemporary sample structure of a play with only one climax. In The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark, the culmination is reached when Polonius dies in the hands of Hamlet as a mistake since the latter intended to stab to death only Claudius, the murderer of his father. Afterwards, the storyline subsides to the feud between Claudius and Hamlet that Prince of Denmark has always wanted thereby marking the beginning of falling action (Shakespeare 264). Therefore, the existence of two climaxes in Miranda and McCarther’s musical drama, as opposed to only one culmination in the Shakespeare’s tragedy, shows another discrepancy in the structure of the analyzed plays.

The sixth structural difference is the falling action. The play by Miranda and McCarther has two aspects per act while the Shakespeares tragedy has only one dominating the fourth act. Overall, act one of Hamilton An American Musical has a subsiding action when the independence is achieved. At this time, the life of Hamilton and Burr changes as families expand due to a newborn son of the former and a daughter of the latter (Miranda and McCarther 118). In the second act, Miranda and McCarther include the reduction of action through demonstration of the rivalry resettlement between Burr and Hamilton as well as forgiveness of Hamiltons wife for her infidelity. On the contrary, Shakespeares play Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark has only one subsiding action in the fourth act that is extended to the last one. In this act, Claudius devises the plans to have Hamlet killed by sending him to another kingdom and accompanying him with a letter instructing that he be murdered. However, the treacherous nature of Hamlet enables him to change the course thereby leading to the failure of the Claudius’s intentions. Thus, Claudius decides to arrange a battle between in the form of fencing (Shakespeare 365). Therefore, the structure of the play differs from that of Shakespeare from the perspective of falling action.

Moreover, the denouement for Hamilton An American Musical makes the play different from the traditional dramas, in particular Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. Besides, there are two divergent morals in the story of Miranda and McCarther . In the first act, the musical play teaches that hard work and commitment to justice become fruitful. Thus, this is shown by the example of the development of the ordinary man from the Caribbean to the hero of the American fight for independence (Miranda and McCarther 100). Nevertheless, in the second act, Miranda and McCarther highlight that one should remain on good terms with other people as well as work in unity and love for a common purpose. Hence, the second act emphasizes that division and wrangles are bad for prosperity of the society and safety of an individual. Besides, this is evidenced by the feud between Hamilton and the rest of the founding fathers, such as Burr and Washington. Indeed, Hamilton dies because of the rivalry when he could have survived if he had been at peace with everyone. In contrast to the depiction of two endings in the Miranda and McCarthers musical play, the Shakespeares tragedy only has one finale. The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark ends tragically with Claudius, Hamlet and Gertrude being dead thereby highlighting importance of reconciliation and forgiveness rather than revenge (Shakespeare 396). As a result, another dissimilarity between the structure of Hamilton An American Musical and the play of Shakespeare is found in their denouements.

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Lastly, the structure of the musical play of Miranda and McCarther is different from the aspect of protasis, epistasis and catastrophe when compared to the classical Shakespeares tragedy . In fact, Hamilton An American Musical may be viewed as two dramas with the three drama parts fully outlined in every act while The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark includes only one instance of the aforementioned parts. Miranda and McCarther could either introduce two acts for each part of Hamiltons life in a single work or have two separate and complete dramas consisting of five acts each. The authors chose the former option, as it provides more compacted encounter of Hamiltons life as one of the founding fathers of the USA, rather than the latter variant that would lead to the disjointed account of the person’s history. In fact, the first act of Hamilton An American Musical is a full play pegged on the fight for independence while the other one is the political foundation of the country after the departure of colonialists. Furthermore, the second part is the political foundation for the new nation. Thus, the structure of each part of the play encompasses separate introduction, the main part, and the finale as opposed to The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark with only one of these parts in the entire play. Hence, this is another feature of Hamilton An American Musical that makes it distinct from its classical counterparts in terms of structure.

In conclusion, the structure of Hamilton An American Musical is different from the traditional plays such as The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark written by William Shakespeare from various aspects, in particular with regard to some acts, prologues, conflicts, rising action, climax, falling actions, and denouement. The Miranda and McCarther’s musical play, for instance, has only two acts when a typical structure of the play, as exampled by the Shakespeare’s tragedy has five. Moreover, Miranda and McCarther use two prologues for each of the act of the play given that some of the characters in the second part of the musical drama never appear in the initial act. Thus, two introductions alter the traditional structure of the musical plays that have just one prologue. On the other hand, Shakespeare included only one introduction of characters. In addition, Miranda and McCarther suggest two climaxes for each act. Therefore, they break the norm of having one culmination unlike the classical tragedyand provide two peak actions, one in each act. Hence, protasis, epistasis and catastrophe occur twice in Hamilton An American Musical as opposed to the Shakespeares work. Therefore, the musical play by Miranda and McCarther differs in terms of structure from the traditional plays from many perspectives.

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