Over five years after it first premiered, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hit Disney Plus on July 3rd and tons of fans have been reliving the epic tale of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
With Lin-Manuel’s critically acclaimed and Tony award-winning musical now on the streaming platform, though, many people who weren’t able to catch the Broadway production are finally able to see what all the fuss is about as well. And it seems that everyone has been checking it out lately, with Hamilton topping the trending chart on Disney Plus and bringing in a ton of new subscribers.
As is the case with most things that gain traction on the internet, though, Hamilton has sparked a lot of debate recently, especially regarding its portrayal of slavery. But there’s something else that folks are debating about, too, and that’s the meaning of Eliza’s gasp at the end of the play, with it unclear exactly what it’s supposed to represent. The fans certainly have their theories, though, and below, you can see just a few of them.
— Kay K. (@yllekalyak) July 7, 2020
I've been thinking about the ending of #HamiltonFilm for a while now and I've seen people discussing on Twitter if the gasp at the end was Eliza seeing #Hamilton in the afterlife or if it was her seeing the audience and breaking the fourth wall.
— #JunkTerrorLawNOW (@eligonzaga_) July 4, 2020
just a reminder that the gasp eliza makes at the end of “who lives, who dies, who tells your story” is her seeing the audience and realizing that her husband’s story was carried on #Hamilton pic.twitter.com/MahMwGkpcx
— 𝙙𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙡𝙖𝙝 ❂ (@sitharies) July 3, 2020
— Kendall Wilkey (@kwilkeyblog) July 5, 2020
Didn’t Lin say that like everything in Hamilton it has like 50 layers of meaning and it’s supposed to represent Eliza seeing the audience but also her dying but also Phillipa seeing the audience?
— here, queer, fear (@tired_and_bi) July 3, 2020
I think the reason why Eliza gasp at the end is because she realized she’s a disney princess now along with her sisters. #Hamilton
— Mic and Me (@TheMicAndMe) July 8, 2020
Fuck me Eliza's gasp at the end of Hamilton being her seeing their story being told has honestly ripped my heart out and torn it into 1685843939 pieces.
— Dobby The Elf (@coffeewithdobby) July 8, 2020
My family thought the gasp at the end of #Hamilton was Eliza's final breath before her death.
— ❤ Maddie Preston ❤ (@LavenderRare) July 8, 2020
What I love about this is the fact that the gasp itself acquires a different meaning from one Eliza to another. There’s not one singular explanation. It’s an opportunity for the actor to make a nonverbal, verbally beautiful and meaningful. The POWER 😍 https://t.co/mIVYb3xlOL
— Matthew Gottlieb (@MattGottlieb_) July 8, 2020
Maybe Eliza’s gasp is her realization that America is still a s*** show in 2020 as it was in 1776 #Hamilton
— Tiff Mau (@tiff_mau) July 8, 2020
The gasp was part of the story written by the highly talented Miranda. I think as the narrator explains, “Eliza takes in the audience and gasps.” But it seems as if that was her death gasp because she reunited and walks away with Hamilton. An excellent, perfectly written play!
— mary jane (@maryjane_10_) July 8, 2020
So, what does Eliza’s gasp really mean at the end of Hamilton? Well, actress Phillipa Soo spoke about it a while ago and explained it as so:
“People are like, ‘Is it Eliza going into heaven? Is she seeing Alexander? Is she seeing God? What is it?’ And it’s kind of all of those things. Sometimes, it’s literally, I look out and I see the audience, and that’s what it is, but I think, that idea of ‘transcendence’ is present in all of that. Whether it’s in Eliza’s mind, or in Phillipa’s mind, they’re both one and the same, which is beautiful about that moment.”
Of course, that’s still pretty vague and clearly, it’s going to be up to each individual audience member to make up their own mind on what exactly this hotly-debated gasp might mean and what Lin-Manuel Miranda is trying to say with it.
But tell us, do you have any interesting Hamilton theories of your own? Even if they aren’t necessarily related to this particular moment? If so, be sure to leave them via a comment in the usual place down below.