The Lady or the Tiger
“The Lady or the Tiger” proposes one question: Which? Author Frank Stockton writes about a barbaric game invented by the King. If any man in the kingdom rubs the King the wrong way, he gets put into a stadium in front of two doors. Behind one is a tiger, the other a lady. If the man picks a door and a lady comes out, he gets to marry her. But if a tiger comes out of the door, he dies a violent death. Hundreds of people look on with pleasure as he picks death or life. In this certain story, a peasant and the Princess fall in love and the King is not pleased. Right away the peasant is thrown into the stadium and with one last desperate hope for life, he looks to the Princess. Seated next to the King, she makes a slight movement with her right hand. Now comes the question. Which came out of the door? You can tell that the Princess is a very jealous person. She knew the young maiden behind the door, and had often seen her staring at the peasant with looks of admiration. It also says, in the story’s own words, that the Princess, “...with all the intensity of the savage blood transmitted to her through long lines of wholly barbaric ancestors, hated the woman who blushed and trembled behind that silent door.” And we know that she dreamed about what it would be like if the peasant opened the door and out came the maiden. “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 of the lady! How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen him rush to meet that woman.” If her hatred for this woman and for the idea of them together was this great, why would she not lead the peasant to the tiger?
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