“Satisfied” Hamilton blog post

The song Satisfied is the eleventh song in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. This song reinforces one of the most important scene in Hamilton and the plot changes when Angelica, Elizabeth Schuyler’s sister, starts to tell the story. Satisfied reveals the other side of Eliza’s happy marriage, as her sister Angelica tells her rather heartbreaking story of losing her heart to Hamilton and ultimately giving him up. The song starts at the wedding day of Elizabeth and Hamilton, with Angelica toasting the new couple. Then, the song rewinds to the scene of “Helpless” as Angelica recalls her memory of when she first met Alexander Hamilton. She was instantly attracted to Hamilton as she stated, “I’ll never first time I saw [Hamilton’s] face.” The two then had a conversation and when Angelica asked about his family, Hamilton replied with “unimportant,” which reveals his flaws beside his appearance. Angelica was attracted to Hamilton, but she was intelligent enough to discern the flaws in Hamilton which not many characters are able to do. Angelica sees Hamilton as brilliant, handsome, and charming, but also as, unsure, young, poor, and ambitious. Hamilton’s ambition dangerously drives him to desperately prove himself and that can be referred as Hamilton stated, “there’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait…” Angelica then explains three reasons why she chooses to introduce Hamilton to her sister Eliza.

These reasons are significant as it gives an insight about Angelica’s wants and fears. She wants to keep her, more importantly, her family’s social status as her dad, Philip Schuyler, is one of the richest man in New York. Angelica fears the fact that Hamilton goes after her because of her father will keep bothering her. That is the first part of the reason of why she chooses to introduce Hamilton to Eliza as she is less skeptical. The second part of the reason belongs to Angelica’s love to her sisters as she knows that Eliza has a more passive personality. This is reflected in the end of the song when Angelica wishes her sister to be happy with Hamilton despite of her unfulfilled dream.

Even though Hamilton is not really singing in this song, the song also gives us a glimpse at Hamilton’s wants and fears. Hamilton wants to prove himself and shines in the spot light, you can tell because Hamilton repeats the lyrics in the first song “but just you wait, just you wait.” Because his ambition drives him to prove himself to be better than anyone else. His fear, however, is his family background. While Hamilton described his family as “unimportant”, Angelica noticed his nervous expression and knew he was poor and had no family background.

Even though it is one of the longest song in the Hamilton series, there are only two voices and three characters. Satisfied is a song which focuses on narrative and characters rather than monumental events, so there is little historical context to be found. The only historical event of note is Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler’s wedding. Elizabeth was the daughter of Philip Schuyler, who is one of the richest men in New York, while Hamilton was penniless orphan. Although the difference of wealth caused some discourse, the couple was happily married. This event differentiates the personality difference between Eliza and her sister Angelica, as Elizabeth is more willing to pursue her dream despite of various obstacles, while Angelica is more logical and think before she acts. On the other hand, there are also many historical inaccuracies in this song. The most significant one being Angelica’s background, as in the song, she is fictionalized as single and has no brothers, in reality she was a married mother of two and had five brothers.

I think the big idea that this song fits the most is “disparities in power alter the balance of relationship between individuals and between societies.” This song expresses the value women held in society at that time, despite women’s intelligence, they are expected to take care of the children and their husbands. They don’t have much choice at that time, as they were not valued by their own abilities, but rather by the husbands they land on. Angelica here is interpreted as “the oldest and wittiest”, she still didn’t have much choice in term of looking for a match. Her job is to find a rich husband with a high social status in order to maintain her own social status. In relate to the big idea, Hamilton isn’t benefited here as he only had the potential to earn new money, therefore is not so trustworthy to become Angelica’s husband.  If Hamilton has the same social status as Angelica, there might be a chance for them as they are both on the same level of intelligence.

To me, “Satisfied” is one of my favorite songs throughout the musical because it emphasizes the difference perspectives can have on events. In “Helpless”, the song right before “Satisfied”, the story is rather similar to a Disney movie, which always ends happily. In contract. Without the song Satisfied, nobody will think about the other side of the happy marriage, where Angelica gives Hamilton up for her family and sister. On the other hand, musically, Angelica impresses me a lot in this song because of the way how she raps. This might also reflect the way she thinks, fast and thoroughly, which sets her above everybody else. One thing that resonates the most with me in this song is how it begins with Angelica toasting the new couple. She tries to stay positive while feeling upset because of her unfulfilled dream as she hopes Eliza “will be happy as [Hamilton’s] bride.”

To me, the whole song was very meaningful and reflective, and I am going to explain three specific passages and how they relate to the overall meaning of the story. The first passage is “So this is what it feels like to match wits with someone at your level! What the hell is the catch? It’s the feeling of freedom, of seein’ the light.” This quote gives an insight of how Angelica feels about Hamilton. She had finally meet someone who is at her same level of intelligence. But sooner, after Angelica found out about Hamilton’s personal background, she realized that Hamilton wouldn’t be a good match for her.

The second passage here is “My father has no sons so I’m the one who has to social climb for one.” Angelica reveals her duty in her family, which is to get a rich husband who has a high social status. This also reflects how women back then were dependent as they were valued by their husbands, not themselves. Angelica, in this case, couldn’t go with Hamilton as he was poor had a low social status.

My last but not least passage is “He’s after me cuz I’m a Schuyler sister, that elevates his status, I’d have to be naïve to set that aside, maybe that is why I introduce him to Eliza.” Angelica here, was intelligent enough to realize that Hamilton went for her because of her social status and money. She feared that this reason would keep bothering her, so she introduces Hamilton to Eliza, who is rather less skeptical. Eliza’s heart was also taken by Hamilton and she stated, “this boy is mine” back in “Helpless”. Therefore, Hamilton would be a better match for Eliza because Hamilton was all she wanted.

The main theme of the song is social status differentiation, which blocks Angelica and Hamilton from getting married. The main reason Angelica gave up Hamilton is because he was poor and had a lower social class. Angelica had to marry rich people because she was born rich, and that limited her choice of partners. Social differentiation was also one main obstacle Hamilton had to face on his road to become the Founding Father.

 

 

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