Ten Duel Commandments

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"Ten Duel Commandments"
Song by Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jon Rua, Leslie Odom Jr. & the Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
from the album Hamilton
Released2015
Genre
Length1:46
Songwriter(s)Lin-Manuel Miranda

"Ten Duel Commandments" is the fifteenth song from Act 1 of the musical Hamilton, based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, which premiered on Broadway in 2015. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote both the music and lyrics to the song.

Synopsis[edit]

Charles Lee

The song recounts a duel which occurred between John Laurens and Charles Lee.[1] The duel took place as a result of disparaging remarks made by Lee about George Washington following Lee's dismissal from the role of Major General in the Continental Army in the wake of Lee's failure at the Battle of Monmouth.[2] The song sets out the ten rules involved in a duel of the era, before the seconds in the duel, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, convene to attempt to make peace. Burr labels duels "dumb and immature", but Hamilton insists that they proceed. The duel continues as planned, with Laurens emerging victorious having wounded his opponent. Washington then interrupts the scene, calling for medical attention to be given to Lee and demanding a word with Hamilton.

Analysis[edit]

The eponymous ten commandments refer to the Ten Commandments of the Abrahamic faiths, which guide followers on how to live their lives. Miranda also stated that the concept of ten commandments stemmed from the "Ten Crack Commandments", which served as a guide to illegal acts during the 1990s, as well as being a song by the Notorious B.I.G.[3]

Elizabeth Logan, writing for Huffington Post, stated that the song has a key role in making the audience "comfortable with duels".[4] This becomes important in Act 2 of the musical, where two duels occur in Weehawken, New Jersey. Thus, as per the author, the audience will be on board when "some beloved characters pick up pistols" later on in the musical.

The song receives two reprises at key junctures in the musical: during "Blow Us All Away" when Philip Hamilton and George Eacker are about to duel, and in "The World Was Wide Enough" in the lead-up to the Burr-Hamilton duel.

Critical reception[edit]

Buzzfeed ranked the song as the 34th best in the musical,[5] while The Young Folks had it ranked 29th.[6]

Huffington Post said that the song was a "club-worthy jam",[4] and Vibe.com said that it contained a "strong percussive beat" with the men involved "exuding dominance".[7]

Popular culture[edit]

A Cracked.com video discussing the effects of the NRA on gun control in the United States referenced the lyrics of the song.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Founders Online: Account of a Duel between Major General Charles Lee and Lieute …". archives.gov. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Charles Lee's Disgrace at the Battle of Monmouth - HistoryNet". www.historynet.com. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Beggs, Alex. "Read Lin-Manuel Miranda's Genius Annotations for Hamilton". vanityfair.com. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Logan, Elizabeth (October 1, 2015). "I Have an Opinion on Every Song in "Hamilton"". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  5. ^ None. "A Ranking Of Every Song In Hamilton". BuzzFeed Community. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Every Song from 'Hamilton,' Ranked - The Young Folks". www.theyoungfolks.com. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "Going H.A.M.: A Track-By-Track Review Of The 'Hamilton' Soundtrack". vibe.com. October 20, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Cracked (November 13, 2016). "Why The NRA Is Even Terrible For Gun-Owners - Cracked Explains". Retrieved May 4, 2017 – via YouTube.