Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza had just moved from their home on Wall Street in the heart of the city to a quiet section uptown. They’re mourning the loss of their son, Philip, who was killed in a duel. It was Hamilton who had advised him to shoot in the air and had given him the guns. They’re also mourning the loss of their happy marriage, after Alexander’s affair was made public and humiliated the entire family.
Throughout the play, there is a theme of never being satisfied - of Hamilton writing and creating and striving “like he’s running out of time.” He’s always looking ahead and working on the next thing.
But in the song “It’s Quiet Uptown,” they’re faced with the unimaginable things that have happened to them. Despite all of Hamilton’s accomplishments and aspirations, the grief and loss they feel are overwhelming, transformative. He begins to see that he had the elements of happiness all along.
If I could spare his life If I could trade his life for mine He’d be standing here right now And you would smile, and that would be enough
I don’t pretend to know The challenges we’re facing
I know there’s no replacing what we’ve lost And you need time
But I’m not afraid I know who I married Just let me stay here by your side That would be enough
It makes me wonder: What would be enough? Can you have dreams and hopes and still be content with what you have?
I think it’s possible, but that it goes against our nature. We have to work every day to be mindful of what’s right in front of us, before we become so used to it that it’s lost and we only realize it when it’s gone.