‘Hamilton’: Eliza’s Gasp at the End Inspired Multiple Fan Theories, But Here’s What Lin-Manuel Miranda Said

Hamilton: An American Musical is one of the most popular artistic creations of all time. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s record-breaking Broadway musical premiered in 2015, but now that it’s accessible to everyone with a Disney+ subscription, there are some new questions coming up five years later.

One common query has to do with Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Eliza Hamilton. The end of the musical shows Eliza walking hand in hand with her deceased spouse while singing about how the rest of her life went after he was murdered in a duel. Then Eliza, played by the immensely talented Phillipa Soo, lets out a loud gasp.

Fans can’t help but wonder: Why did Eliza gasp like that?

Eliza Hamilton loudly gasps during the final monologue

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Hamilton relies on a mix of musical genres ranging from traditional Broadway show tunes to rap. The unique retelling of a classic tale is what made the story so compelling — plus, the talent of the diverse cast of actors is unparalleled.

During the final song, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” Eliza gives a summary of what happens to her for the rest of her life. She discusses opening an orphanage and helping to raise hundreds of children, plus gathering her late husband Alexander’s letters and other writing samples for his biography.

Eliza says, “I can’t wait to see you on the other side. It’s only a matter of time,” just as Alexander takes her hand. Then she walks to the edge of the stage, looks out at the audience, and gasps while crying. But why?

Fans have many theories for Eliza’s gasp during ‘Hamilton’

Some fans say the gasp is because Eliza had died and is seeing the afterlife, including her deceased husband again. Others argue she’s shocked to see the audience there, appreciating Alexander Hamilton’s story and not letting his legacy die with him, Yahoo reported.

And then there are the fans who think Eliza is observing the modern world with all its triumphs and faults in the current time. Her shock and happiness that the American experiment lasted this long would be enough for those triumphant tears.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Phillipa Soo explain their theories

Phillipa Soo with Lin-Manuel Miranda | Walter McBride/WireImage

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Miranda has heard all the theories pertaining to Eliza’s gasp and refuses to divulge which one is correct. Instead, he says the gasp is up to interpretation and depends on which actress is playing Eliza.

“I think it’s different for each Eliza,” he said during an interview with Wired. “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.”

Soo expressed similar sentiments. “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,” she told AOL in 2016.

“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,” she continued. “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.”

Ultimately, it’s up to the audience to decide what Eliza’s gasp means.