148: Written ambiguity

I have long misread this one line from Hamlet:

But I do prophesy th’ election lights
On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.

Today, I suspect “lights” is used as a verb – as an archaic form of “alights.” In this reading, the election is given a sense of agency (or at least the voters are). This is at least less wrong than what I used to think: throughout high school and the earlier years of university, I mistakenly read “lights” as literal sources of illumination. So I just thought it was some Norwegian (possibly Danish, since Hamlet is speaking this line) custom to convene all the candidates in one room to call the election like a B-grade anime popularity contest omake episode. Surprise! The lights (of the election) blaze upon Fortinbras, voted best waifu in Hamlet.

For this reason, I have come to associate figures alone in the light (especially facing a crowd) with Fortinbras’ name. This wallpaper lives under the name “fortinbras.jpg” in my home directory:


I witness the stage lights upon Blechacz.



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