The artifact I will be using for my Neo-Aristotelian analysis is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2016 Tony acceptance speech.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is a composer, actor, songwriter, playwright, and activist who created and starred in two award-winning Broadway musicals, Hamilton and In the Heights. Miranda gives his acceptance speech at the Tony Awards in New York City after winning a Tony award for best original score for his musical Hamilton. The award show took place at 8pm on June 12, 2016. This was the same day of the deadly shooting that took place at a gay night club called Pulse in Orlando, Florida at 2 a.m. The speech is being given directly to the attendees of the award show, which mainly consists of other famous people, but the speech is also given to the people who are viewing the broadcast of the show.
The invention of Miranda’s speech focuses on two main subjects which are his appreciation for his wife and his support for those affected by the Pulse shooting. He shows his appreciation for his wife when he says, “My wife’s the reason anything gets done, she nudges me towards promise by degrees”. This proof appeals to ethos because the audience sees that he loves his wife and accredits her to his successes. Miranda talks about the shooting by calling it a “senseless acts of tragedy” and showing his support and condolences by saying “love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside”, referring to his support for the LGBT community. This proof appeals to pathos by talking about a tragic event that took the lives of many that happened less than twenty-four hours ago.
Miranda’s arrangement consistent of talking about his own personal love, then to the Pulse shooting, and finally talks about love in a broader sense and how it related to the LGBT community. He builds from his personal experience to talking about how the shooting affects the lives of the people. He then says that among the pain of this event, “Remembrances that hope and love live longer”, which brings him to his final point that no matter what gender you identify as or who you love, it is still love and it is important. Miranda starts with a personal subject and then builds into a most broad subject that others can identify with.
Miranda makes the stylistic choice to have the majority of his speech in the form of a sonnet. This choice pairs with the fact that his speech is about love considering most subjects of sonnets are love. The word choice also goes with his theme of celebrating love with musical terms as well as poetic language.
The speech is memorable because of its structure and the emotion that was used in the delivery. Award acceptance speeches are not typically in the form of a sonnet or a poem at all. They are mostly about thanking the people who have helped them along the way. Miranda’s speech achieved that piece by thanking his wife, but also mentioned a tragic event and recently happened. This speech was also memorable because of how much emotion Miranda put into his delivery.
The delivery of the speech was so impactful because of the amount of emotion that was put into his speech. His voice wavers and cracks while delivering the speech and he walks away from the microphone as if he was about to cry.
The effect of the speech on the audience was immediate. While Miranda is delivering his speech, the camera pans to the audience to show they are filled with sympathy for the victims of the shooting and some are close to tears. Once the speech has concluded, Miranda receives a very enthusiastic round of applause.
Here is the transcription of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s speech:
“I’m not freestyling, I’m too old. I wrote you are sonnet instead:
My wife’s the reason anything gets done.
She nudges me towards promise by degrees.
She is a perfect symphony of one, our son is her most beautiful reprise.
We chase the melodies that seem to find us
until they’re finished songs and start to play.
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
that nothing here is promised, not one day.
This show is proof that history remembers.
We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger.
We rise and fall and light from dying embers.
Remembrances that hope and love live longer.
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.
As sacred as a symphony, Eliza tells her story and fills the world with music love and pride.
Thank you so much for this.”
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jehrbUGdlE (starting at 1:44)