app for empatheias (updated 8/31)
Contact: myshot / thatlovingrainbow @ gmail.com (email or hangouts)
Current Characters: n/a
Character: Eliza Hamilton
Canon: Hamilton: the Musical
Canon Point: a few months after Burr and Hamilton's duel
Background: musical synopsis, historical summary
Elizabeth Schuyler was the middle of three daughters born to a prominent Albany family in the late 1700s. She grew up thick as thieves with her fearless older sister Angelica and her more cautious younger sister Peggy, and lived a relatively charmed and happy childhood. Both of her sisters were more intellectually inclined than Eliza was, but she still did her best and studied her French and read books that Angelica recommended - though generally much slower, and with a preference for fiction.
Shortly after the war started, she attended a party where she saw (and then met) a young soldier named Alexander Hamilton, who she was immediately smitten with. They were engaged within a month with her father's approval and married scant weeks after, but despite the speed at which their relationship progressed, they were extremely in love and exceedingly happy together.
While Alexander progressed through the war, and then into law and politics, Eliza was mostly a homemaker and hostess, having a number of surviving children and raising them to the best of her ability, and helping Alexander when he needed her. After their second-to-last child was born, Alexander was stupid enough to go publish a 95-page pamphlet that chronicled in explicit detail the affair he'd had with a young woman years ago while Eliza and the children were in Albany for the summer. This obviously threw a wrench in their relationship for a while.
Unfortunately, their oldest son Philip - then nineteen - challenged another young man to a duel to defend his father's name in the aftermath of the scandal. While Philip was an honorable youth, the other man was not, and shot Philip before the duel officially commenced. Despite the doctor's best efforts, Philip died, breaking Eliza's heart all over again. After some time grieving, she reached out to Alexander again and they began to repair their relationship, and by 1804 they had recently had their 8th and final child and were again close and tender with one another, which was a comfort as Eliza's mother had died the year before, and her younger sister Peggy fell ill and died that spring. Their happiness was cut short when Alexander was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, and Eliza's tenuous recovery from her grief was uprooted again a mere four months later when her father passed away, leaving Angelica her only surviving relative (apart from her children).
She will likely arrive from re-reading one of Alexander's many letters to her.
Obviously, as Eliza is a fictionalized version of a historical character, the musical does not always match up with actual history. I've used historical facts and assumptions to flesh her out, but the musical's events and timeline takes precedence over history every time.
Elizabeth Schuyler was once described by her beloved older sister thusly: "You will never find anyone as trusting or as kind". She is a genuinely good person with a big heart, who prefers to believe in people over being suspicious of them. This has, admittedly, caused her some pain in the past (I mean, she took her husband at his word one summer and years later found out that he'd actually been having an affair), and her inclination to take people at their word can lead to her not always trusting her instincts about people, but that has not shaken her belief in the general goodness of (most) people.
That belief and her big heart mean that she is an amazingly generous person, in whatever way she can provide succor to those in need of it. One of the most obvious ways she does this is by caring for orphaned or otherwise in-need children. While she will in the future be instrumental in the opening of the first private orphanage in Manhattan, thus far it's largely through the fostering children whose parents were either dead or imprisoned or otherwise unable to care for them. Given that she already had many children to raise, this definitely shows her empathy and generosity.
Eliza is, relatedly, rather a natural mother. She is gentle and nurturing by nature and loves her children (both the ones she gave birth to and the ones she helped to raise even for a little while) more than life itself. She is also extremely protective of the people she loves, even when they really don't need her mothering them so to speak.
Though she is gentle and seems quite soft, she has a core of steel - she doesn't let anyone walk all over her, and she is capable of holding her head high through tragedy. Within the past four years, her husband has published an explicit pamphlet documenting his affair with another woman, and she has suffered many deaths in her family - her sister Peggy, her oldest son Philip, her mother, Alexander himself, and most recently her father. Even so, she finds solace in her faith, and continues to be kind and emotionally generous.
To the people who cross her, though - whether directly or by marking themselves an enemy of someone she loves - she is as firm in her anger as she is in her faith or her love. The men who speak most against her husband (such as Thomas Jefferson) have her eternal enmity, though she may not be as public about her feelings as her husband was. She can be amazingly forgiving to those she believes truly regret what they did or said, as evidenced in her forgiveness of Alexander for the whole Reynolds Pamphlet debacle, but when she decides to hold a grudge she damn well holds it.
Despite the fact that she is much more soft-spoken than her husband or her sister Angelica, she is no wilting flower and she is not without her own wicked streak. She's not as quick of wit as either of them, and she's not as well-educated, but she is a Schuyler sister and she has a certain spark and fire to her that smolders under the surface - undoubtedly what drew Alexander to her in the first place.
Eliza deeply loves her entire family, and grew up very close with her sisters, especially Angelica. Eliza and Angelica are amazing foils for each other - Eliza smolders where Angelica burns, trusts where Angelica's skeptical, and soothes where Angelica's abrasive. Angelica is fierce and sharp-edged and Eliza loves and admires that about her, even though she spent most of her childhood trying to smooth the feathers Angelica had ruffled. They are best friends, and best sisters, and the thought of losing Angelica is honestly more terrifying than the potential (or actual) loss of anyone else she's loved.
Alexander is many of the same things for her as an adult that Angelica was for her as a girl - someone brash and bright and fearless who she can love without reservations and take pride in being their support and foundation. She can't quite keep up with him most of the time, but she does her best, and he has always taken the time to help her keep up if she wanted to. She's been his secretary and sounding board on a number of his writings, and he is her partner above all - losing him devastated her in a way she can't quite put words to, though she's held her head high and kept living all the same.
Her children are, after Angelica and Alexander (or, really, on par with them) the most important people in her life, and she takes great pride in them all. They're smart, skilled, and she thinks they probably will all surpass her much like their father did. But they all have, to some extent, a streak of her gentleness, and she is as proud of that as she is that they take after their father intellectually. They are her greatest joy and she will miss them horribly.
All in all, she's a largely kind and lovely woman who almost always has a kind word for others, with a core of steel strength and the ability to hold a grudge for decades if she deems it suitable.
Plus, y'know, she's Alexander Hamilton's wife. She has to be pretty smart - if not as quick and mentally nimble - to keep up with him.
Uh…. she can sew? And cook? And plan parties? Flower arranging? Household organization and basic finances? Childrearing? Being a stone cold badass and also the sweetest thing ever?
Speaks Dutch. Can't read or write it very well, but she can speak and understand it enough to be technically fluent. Also speaks French - moderately conversational, but better at reading it than she is Dutch.
Alignment: Daimonia - not only is Eliza a person who feels joy very deeply, but she's suffered a lot of grief in the last five years or so, grief that isn't going to be washed away simply by being reunited with Alexander (though that will help a lot with the MOAR JOY thing…)
Other: Eliza is largely musical-canon but fleshed out with some historical facts never really touched on in the show, like how many children she has or the fact that her sister died mere months before her oldest son. Additionally, the Dutch-speaking thing is technically headcanon/assumption, as she historically grew up attending a Dutch-speaking church near Albany, and the French taken as an extrapolation because it was "the thing" for well off young women to learn, and because she's shown in the show teaching her son to count in French.
Sample: Test Drive Link (New thread as of 8/31)