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The Lady Or The Tiger

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Any good work in literature allows the reader to raise questions and to think outside the box in order to draw conclusions. In Frank Stockton’s short story, “The Lady or the Tiger?” the author ends the story in a question allowing the reader to determine the conclusion of the story. The reader must decide if the lady or the tiger comes out of the door. A young handsome man stands at the centre of the arena with the faith of his life depending on the choice of a semi-barbaric princess. The semi-barbaric princess must decide whether or not the young man will receive a punishment or a reward. The punishment involves being devoured by a flesh-eating tiger and the reward involves marrying the loveliest damsel in the eyes of the court. Through careful analysis of “The Lady or the Tiger?” it is clear to the reader that the semi-barbaric princess points her lover towards the door in which the tiger lies behind.

As a result of the semi-barbaric princess’s feelings of envy towards the young lady she leads her lover to the door in which the tiger lies behind. In the eyes of the court the young lady is described as being, “One of the fairest and loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as the reward of the accursed youth, should he be proved innocent of the crime of aspiring to one so far above him; and the princess hater her” (327). The semi-barbaric princess is envious of the fact that the fairest maiden has been chosen as the reward for her lover. This envy arises from the semi-barbaric princess being unable to cope with the fact that her lover will end up spending his life in the arms of someone more beautiful than herself. Thus, the semi-barbaric princess leads her lover to the door in which the tiger lies behind. The semi-barbaric princess makes this decision even though she states that she is satisfied and loves the young man.



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