The Lady or the Tiger

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October 24, 2012

Frank Stockton presents the reader with a difficult dilemma in his short story, “The Lady or the Tiger.” A semi barbaric princess must decide her lover’s fate by choosing to send him death or to another woman in her father’s arena of chance. She spends hour after hour deliberating the two options. Finally, she finds herself picking the door in which the cruel fangs of the tiger await. It is her jealousy that allows her to send the suitor to his brutal death. The amount of envy and spite she has toward the lady is titanic. She is also aware of the passionate and warm feelings that the female contains for her lover. Her assumption is that the suitor consists of mutual affections. Just visualizing the love of her life with another woman tortures the princess. The fact that she is even speculating the possibility of killing her lover makes her capable of taking action. If someone were truly in love with another, that person would not even take into consideration whether or not he or she should save or kill his or her partner. To decide on the correct decision is simply unquestionable and should not be hesitant. However, the princess does have doubts on saving her paramour. This questions if she honestly loves him. Then, she takes into consideration the advantages of her lover being eaten alive. If the suitor dies now, he could reunite with her when she passes away. There would be no hiding, no other ladies, and the two of them can stay together as long as they desire. Of course, to the princess, it would be foolish to deny the fact that this is the right decision. In her perspective, this result contains no disadvantages. She might wake up every now and then from a dream based upon her lover getting slaughtered and torn to pieces, “but how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth and torn her hair when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door to the lady!” The...
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