The courtier is a young man whose love affair with the princess results in his imprisonment and trial. Though of lower birth than the princess, he is "handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this kingdom." He trusts absolutely in his power to charm the princess, and realizing that she knows what is behind each door, he opens the one she indicates "without the slightest hesitation."
The king is a "semi-barbaric" man with an implacable will. As part of the system of justice he has established in his land, the king sets up a system of choice for criminals. They must enter an arena and pick a door; the door may lead to their freedom or to a terrible death.
Furious when he discovers his daughter's affair with a courtier, the king condemns the young man to the arena, taking great care to select the fiercest tiger to place behind one door and the most respectable marriage candidate from among the ladies of the court behind the other.
The lady is a young courtier, picked by the king to be the young man's bride, should he open the correct door. She is beautiful, charming, and known to both the courtier and the princess. The princess perceives the lady as a rival for the young man's love, and thus she is an object of the princess's hatred and jealousy.
The princess loves a young courtier "with...
(The entire section is 452 words.)