10 Types of Tears Hamilton Made You Shed

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Photo credit: Sara Krulwich

#9: A.Tears

After two acts and a lifetime of disagreements, Hamilton and Burr finally go head-to-head. As it was likely the only part of Hamilton’s story you knew before the musical came along, the final duel’s outcome isn’t surprising, though it is still somehow emotionally devastating. It’s not the death that’s hard to grapple with. It’s the raw humanity we finally fully experience of both men that cuts a little too deep.

We pity Burr here in a way we haven’t necessarily yet thought to. He’s had a troubled life, and he’s tried to do the best he could. That is, until Hamilton came along and constantly questioned and challenged his every political or public move. So it’s understandable that this lifelong feud would come to a head eventually, but it’s Burr’s sudden and final act of outward, authoritative action that’s the shocker. The duel countdown reaches 10, and, refusing the possibility that Hamilton could make an orphan of his daughter, he shoots Hamilton, pointblank. Hamilton’s pistol is aimed at the sky.

It’s a tense moment, and one that’s hard to grapple with, especially since our titular hero has just been murdered. We understand Burr’s actions. But we also, thanks to Lin, get to hear Hamilton’s side of things, and our introspective acceptance turns immediately back to ugly-sobbing, also thanks to Lin. Hamilton recites his final inner monologue, reflecting on the opportunities he was afforded in America, the legacy he hopes to leave behind, the loves of his life, and the loved ones he will soon greet on the other side. It’s poignant, it’s epic, it’s intimate, it’s heartbreaking, it’s life-affirming. It’s the musical theater version of Meredith Brooks’s “I’m A Bitch.” And it’s a thing that makes me cry at my desk 2-4 times a week. AGAIN: THANK YOU, LIN!

Songs to cry to: Your Obedient Servant, The World Was Wide Enough