two doorways with an elegant woman standing in one and a large tiger head in the other

The Lady, or the Tiger?

by Francis Richard Stockton
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Based on the words he uses to describe the king, how do you think the narrator feels about this character?

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Evidently, the narrator does not have a high opinion of the king in this story. The king is described as "semi-barbaric," and while his ideas have, apparently, been influenced by "distant Latin neighbors," they remain "florid and untrammeled," which are both very unflattering descriptors. The narrator then goes on to state with an element of sarcasm that "when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done." The implication here is that the king was overly authoritarian and did not take advice from others, preferring instead to simply change things depending on his "will."

The narrator also suggests that the king is very fickle and that he enjoys "crush[ing] down uneven places." The implication here is that the king enjoys seeing others suffer and meting out overly harsh punishment, which the narrator's tone seems to condemn.

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In his description of the king, the narrator seems to feel that the monarch is pretty ruthless. The story of 'The Lady or the Tiger' shows a king's black and white attitude to life, problems and justice issues. Through the narrator, the author shows us a description of the king's personality, he could be 'bland and genial' but also 'semi-barbaric.' The narrator explains to us, the readers, that :

'He was greatly given to self-communing, and, when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done.'

This demonstrates that he was an individual  who thought he needed advice from nobody. By "self communing"  the narrator means that he was arrogant and looked only to himself for wisdom and prudence.He just decided what he wanted and that is what got done. There was no recourse for the accused, no way of appeal, or mercy, no jury and not even a trial.

The words 'large, florid and untrameled' also show that the narrator has a dim view of the king's education and outlook on life - it doesn't seem to have been honed by real experience as he is in control.

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