Solutions for Act III Scene 4 - Alternatives

Looking at the set of smaller images first, we can try identifying what word they're each representing. Some are immediately recognisable and fairly unambiguouus, such as DORA, DORY, FORE, (French) HORN, NORI, and SORA. The obvious connection appears to be they all have the form _OR_, i.e. one letter on either side of the word "or". This certainly seems apt given the title.

Noticing also that the pictures are given in alphabetical order, they can now be identified as:


Now we probably want to use the big pictures somehow. They unfortunately do not seem to follow the pattern of having "or" in the middle of them. In fact the most obvious word to associate with each picture is probably FLY, KEN, CLAP, (Anton) EGO (from Ratatouille), ETA, TANK in order. The only promising thing here is that the total number of letters is twenty, the same number of _OR_ words we've found.

What we want to do here is interpret each _OR_ word as a choice between the letters on either end. Thus BORE is to be read "B or E", etc. Now it looks like if we pick one letter from each _OR_ word, we should be able to spell out the five pictures at the bottom. For instance, the F in FLY can come from FORD or FORE, the L from LORE or LORI, and the Y can only come from DORY.

This still isn't quite enough to uniquely assign each word to a letter. What we also must do is consider the "alternative" letter each word implies as well. A reasonable assumption is that these extra letters should also spell a word. Thus the FLY must be made up of FORD, LORI, and DORY, so that our alternative letters spell the word DID.

Assigning _OR_ words with this in mind seems to lead to only one possible complete ordering. Altogether we get:

Big pictureComponentsAlternative word
FLYFord, Lori, dorYdid
KENKora, sorE, horNash
CLAPCorr, Lore, sorA, Portrest
EGOborE, Gore, torObet
ETAforE, Tore, dorAfed
TANKsorT, horA, Nori, porKship

What can we do with these new alternative words? The final intuitive leap is to realise each of these words can also be interpreted as alternatives to other things, by composing them with "or" plus a letter to make a word. In almost all cases this is a unique construction, and if not, the other available words are obscure. We get


So the alternative letters spell out SEESAW, which can be interpreted as the verb meaning to vacillate or choose between two options.

The answer is: seesaw