The Lady Or The Tiger, By Frank Stockton

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Warning! Warning! Warning! In Frank Stockton’s short story “The Lady, or the Tiger,” the readers are introduced to the daughter of a semi-barbaric king and her lowly lover, who was sentenced to go into the King’s arena and choose between two doors: behind one door is a beautiful maiden, and behind the other is a savage, relentless tiger. In a surprise ending, Stockton does not specify which door the lover chose. Instead, he poses the question and warns the readers, “Think of it, fair readers, not as if the decision of the question depended upon yourself, but upon that hot-blooded, semi-barbaric princess, her soul at a white heat beneath the combined fires of despair and jealousy.” (p 3) To the vigilant reader, Stockton’s emphasis upon the …show more content…
The princess’s use of her will and power to gain this information shows how desperate she was. After all, the woman behind the door was one of the “fairest and loveliest of the damsels… but she had dared to raise her eyes to the loved one of the princess…she hated the woman behind that silent door.” In reality, if anybody had even lain an eye on her lover, she would have found it a threat to losing her lover’s heart. “Would it not be better for him to die at once and wait for her in…futurity?” In her jealousy, which consumed her entirely…she didn’t care if he were happy, it only mattered that it be over and quickly.
How often had she dreamed of him opening the door of the tiger, “but how much oftener had she seen him” open the other door to his future wife! These dreams were haunting her for days and nights. “How in her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair,” (p 3) when she watched her lover open the maiden’s door. She had imagined herself in horror multiple times watching events unfold if her lover chose the other maiden. All those numerous events would crush any normal lover, let alone one who had inherited a barbaric nature. She chose to go to the arena; she knew she would have

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