Share it Please
Researching this paper has made me more than a little excited to tackle a sort of contrast between Shakespeare and popular playwright Lin Manuel Miranda. At first this seemed like a pretty hard comparison to draw, because musicals and dramas are different beasts. However, I feel like they’re both valid works of literature and have been able to influence audiences in a major way. That being said, I’ve decided to narrow down my topic and figure out what defines an artist as a “Shakespeare”, and then decide whether Lin Manuel fits the bill.
I worried that there wouldn’t be many resources for this essay, but I was definitely mistaken. I’ve found a scholarly blog connecting Shakespeare and Hamilton, which does an in-depth analysis of the rhetoric that Hamilton’s characters use and compares their forms and voices to Shakespeare’s characters. I found a video of the cast of Hamilton doing a tribute to the Bard, (like a “what-would-Shakespeare-say-to-Lin” type deal) that was really great! I found a pretty cool forum that had a lot of opinions under the question “Will Lin Manuel Miranda Surpass William Shakespeare in Legacy?”
My favorite source, however, I have yet to tap. I found a PDF for the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival Conference that took place this year. One of the panelists for the conference was a grad student named Bridgett Vanderhoof, and her piece was titled, “Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton and Shakespeare.” The abstract discusses Hamilton as a history play and how someone begins to be “historicized.” In one of my best feats of Internet stalking, I found Bridgett’s profile on the university website, her LinkedIn profile, and her wedding registry. As soon as I get a little farther in my research, I plan to reach out to her and ask her opinions and sources via LinkedIn.
I asked the Slack channel how they would define a “Shakespeare,” and Isaac and Micah gave me some great feedback about a few characteristics that are intrinsic to Shakespeare. Mallory also gave me a really enthusiastic response when I first proposed the idea, which was very encouraging!
I am so excited about this paper. I don’t think I’ve ever been thrilled to write a research paper before, but I think Miranda is awesome, and I think Shakespeare is awesome, so there’s really no going wrong here.