First Burn is a masterpiece, and there’s one thing in particular I can’t get over. We’re all talking about this incredible, savage quote:
“Your enemies whisper so you have to scream. I know about whispers. I see how you look at my sister.”
It shakes us to the core, it speaks deeper of something we always knew. Eliza might say she doesn’t know who Alexander is, she has so much to learn, but also she knows everything.
Of course, she knows Alexander so so well and she knows better than anyone where to attack him: his writing, his legacy. The final version of Burn shows us that: she goes right for his throat, ‘your sentences border on senseless’ and so on. His obsession with his legacy and ‘you are paranoid in every paragraph how they perceive you’.
But she always knows the rest of his flaws, she knows what Alexander is doing to her. She sees how he is about women, about her own sister. She loves him and sees all the amazing stuff about him, but she sees him entirely, all the bad included. In Satisfied, Angelica says she’d have to be naive to put aside Hamilton’s flaws and intentions. Eliza see his defects too, she also says she’s not naive, she stands by his side but she knows what he is costing her. She knows his power to affect people, herself included: “Don’t take another step in my direction, I can’t be trusted around you”. She sees the effects of his charms on others and in hers, and she is prepared for that, for his words: “Don’t think you can talk your way into my arms”.
And she knows his tendency for self-destruction. Angelica used the Icarus metaphor, but Eliza was already aware of his sense of self preservation, so extreme it easily went sideways, being how he falls. She knew how blind he could be to the things that really mattered, obsessed with his legacy, drowning in his pride. She saw the things he ignored and dismissed, she’s way ahead of him: “When will you learn that they are your legacy? We are your legacy”. This quote speaks to so many things, to Philip’s death, to Alexander’s legacy only surviving thanks to Eliza, to his whole story.
Angelica is not the only Schuyler who can read right through him. Eliza was looking closer, longer, even deeper. And she was right in the eye of the hurricane along with him, the consequences affected her and her family directly. She knew everything, she felt all of it. It’s not hard to understand why she loves him, why she forgives him later, and it’s no wonder at all that she hopes that he burns.