Summary Of Frank R. Stockton's 'The Lady Or The Tiger'

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In the “The Lady or the Tiger?” Frank R. Stockton describes a short story that takes place in a very olden and barbaric time. This story consist of a “semi-barbaric” king, a lover boy, and a princess. When newly received information of his daughter’s affair come to his attention, the king reveals that the young man she is in love with is unfit to be in a relationship with his daughter. In order for the young man to right his wrong, the king devised a justice system that is based off of fate. In a public arena, that the king created for the accused, stood two doors. Behind one door, waited a lovely maiden. If the young man were to open this particular door, he would then be married to the young lady and have a second chance at life. However,…show more content…
She did this knowing that her loved one would walk in the stadium and immediately look to her for the answer of which door to choose. However, the young boy did not consider the princess’s jealousy when she gave him her answer. Unfortunately for the princess, behind one of the doors “was one of the fairest and loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as the reward of the accused youth . . . and the princess hated her” (Stockton 205). The princess did not necessarily hate this maiden for no reason but rather for an action that the lady may or may not have committed. Stockton claims that the princess had witnessed or imagined this lovely damsel gazing at her beloved and her beloved returning the glances (205). Although the princess loves the young man, she realizes that if she reveals to him the door with the lovely damsel she would have to deal with the agony of watching her beloved rush joyously to the woman behind the door while the celebration of matrimony took place right before her eyes. The princess would have to live her life suffering as she watched the man she loves live a happy life with the woman she…show more content…
Stockton points out the heartbreaking experience of “hearing the shrieks and seeing the blood of her beloved as the tiger rips him apart” (207). It would be very difficult to deal with the violent death of her beloved, but seeing him getting torn apart by the man-eating tiger is only temporary; while the marriage would last a life time. Why should the princess let him live happily ever after? After all, Stockton claims that “The girl was lovely, but she had dared to raise her eyes to the loved one of the princess; and with all the intensity of the savage blood transmitted to her through long lines of whole barbaric ancestors, she hated the woman who blushed and trembled behind that silent door” (205). The Princess had many hours to contemplate her decision and since she comes from a long line of savagely cruel ancestors, it is very probable that she made the savage decision. Instead of watching her lover boy be overjoyed and married to a woman that she despises, it is likely that she would rather watch her beloved be violently attacked and
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