“I’m not here for you.”

Probably the best meta I’ve seen on Hamilton is this, to which I have nothing of value to add.  But I do want to talk about the relationship between Angelica and Eliza just for a bit.

I’m not here for you.

God, this line, as a line delivered by a woman to a man…

Have you thought about how rare that is, in big blockbusting popular media?  A love triangle where both women, at turns, reject and turn a cold shoulder toward the suave daring man?  A love triangle where the two competing “love interests” actually don’t compete, but defer to each other?  A representation of a woman’s attraction to a man not being her first priority in life?

A story where a woman chooses solidarity with another woman over pursuing or supporting the man she loves?

A story where that choice gets to be made by a Black woman, without desexualizing her?  Where her desires are present and passionate, but don’t compose the entirety of her character?

And where, in a reading that goes with, not against, the grain of the story, she’s sympathetic and praiseworthy even when she’s rejecting romantic advances and pleas for support by the main character?

How often do you see that?  A love story, where a woman interrupts her disparaging, cynical, mocking assessment of her romantic interest to proclaim how great her sister is?

Number three: I know my sister like I know my own mind
You will never find anyone as trusting or as kind

That kills me, that that’s a deciding factor in how she handles him.  That when Angelica sings about her and her sister’s interest in Alexander, her verses are full of regret, but she’s singing her sister’s praises, too.  She knows Eliza would readily make sacrifices for her.  She knows, if she tried to pursue marriage with Alexander, Eliza would step aside and let her, despite her own head-over-heels infatuation, because that’s the kind of generous and self-effacing woman she is.

If I tell her that I love him, she’d be silently resigned
He’d be mine
She would say “I’m fine”
She’d be lying

And so Angelica decides to make that exact sacrifice herself instead.  She lets Eliza marry Alexander and keeps her feelings to herself — because she’d rather put Eliza first, because that’s how much she means to her.  And yes, she’s conflicted about the decision and recognizes, even from the beginning, that bad things will come of it.

And I know
She’ll be happy as his bride
And I know
He will never be satisfied
I will never be satisfied

…but she’s still glad that at least her sister gets to be happy, for the time being.  And she wonders, sometimes, but she never really goes back on her decision.  That love for her sister resonates throughout the entirety of the play.

And when Alexander betrays Eliza and “clears his name” in a way that casts public shame on her, Alex has the gall to think Angelica will “understand what he’s trying to do” and side with him.

It’s clear what Angelica’s response will be when she begins by singing Eliza’s praises again.

I know my sister like I know my own mind
You will never find anyone as trusting or as kind

After what happened at the winter’s ball all those years ago, somehow Alex still thinks she wouldn’t, again, care more about her than about him.

I love my sister more than anything in this life
I will choose her happiness over mine, every time

Her sister is her first priority.  She’s not here for him.  She’s shown, already, which of them she values and protects first.  She loves her sister — and no amount of flirting and sexual tension with Alexander can change that.  And it is glorious.

Put    what    we    had    aside
I’m     standing     at     her     side
You could never be satisfied
God, I hope you’re satisfied

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