Eliza and Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton's ending explained: what does Eliza's gasp mean? 

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Emmy Griffiths

Fans have been obsessing over the Hamilton musical ever since it was released on Disney+ in early July. The Broadway musical, which was filmed with its original cast back in 2016 for a theatrical release, tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, an American Founding Father who helped the country win independence in the late 1700s. However, there is one question on everyone's lips - just what does the final moment of the musical really mean? 

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What do the last moments of Hamilton signify? 

After Alexander's death in the musical (historical spoiler alert!), his wife Eliza concludes the show with a number on all of the good that she did after her husband was killed in a duel, including desperately trying to make sure people remember his name and achievements. In the last few seconds of the show, Eliza is led to the front of the stage where she dramatically gasps and places her hands over her heart, overwhelmed by what she has seen. So what is the touching moment meant to symbolise?

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Fans have a variety of theories, including that Eliza has died and gone to heaven, and has seen Alexander or even her son, Philip, for the first time since their deaths. Meanwhile, another popular theory is that she is instead breaking the fourth wall and looking out into the modern-day audience, realising that she and her husband have indeed been remembered by history. 

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Phillipa Soo, who originated the role of Eliza and stars in the Hamilton film, previously opened up about her theory, telling AOL Build: "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." 

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The show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, also opened up about how he interprets the final moment. He told Wired: "I think it's different for each Eliza. It’s heart-stopping isn't it? It traverses time in some way. Whether that thing she’s seeing is Hamilton, whether that thing she’s seeing is heaven, whether that thing she’s seeing is the world now. I think those are all valid and all fair. I do think she is seeing across a span of time in that moment." 

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