The Lady Or The Tiger Ending

Did the tiger come out of the door, or did the lady?

Quick Answer

The author of "The Lady or the Tiger?" never reveals what is behind the door. The princess indicates that her lover should choose the door on the right, however, we know that the princess—like her father—has a “barbaric” streak. Furthermore, we know that she hates the lady behind the door and is sick at the thought of her lover being married to her. Ultimately, it is left up to the reader to decide what they think emerged from the door—a lady or a tiger?


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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Stockton, the author of the work, deliberately did not give us the "right" answer to this question.  Given that, we can guess and surmise and speculate; however, the answer is still, ultimately, a matter of opinion.

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Think about this people. The story explains about her barbaric nature like her father’s. We are also told that her lover “knows” her true nature. If these things are true, the princess would have directed him to the door with the tiger, but her lover would have known that. Consequently, he would have chosen the door she did not indicate, and he and the beautiful girl would...

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emilyvinson03 | Student

nj

emilyvinson03 | Student

I think that the tiger came out, because even though he would get killed, she couldn't live to see him with another woman.

ortinnoble | Student

As it states in the text "That hot blooded semi barbaric princess". It is in her nature to choose the tiger.

breakfast | Student

The princess truly does love the courtier but simply cannot the stand the thought of him being with another woman, especially one she despises. Being barbaric (or semi barbaric)in nature, she is not one to be a stranger to blood and gory which is a compromise she will make in seeing her lover suffer, so that she can meet him in barbaric heaven, which she believes exists. She probably believes that it is the right thing to do and the fact that she even considers not telling her lover which door the lady is in tells us that she is capable of letting the courtier die in order to eternally love him in heaven Swag bruh

literarian | Student

Has anyone considered the amount of love the man had for the princess?  It could be that whether she chose the lady or the tiger is irrelevant to his decision.  In understanding her nature, he would realize how tortured she would be by either end result.

Most who consider this issue, (the princess included, it seems,) mistakenly assume that the man would, if awarded the lady, be so overcome by joy in having not been mauled to death that he would ride off gaily with his new bride and never think about the princess again.  I believe that if the man truly loved the princess, he would follow her indication regardless of knowing he could be surrendering himself to the tiger.  Perhaps he would rather die than know his love would have to endure the torture of seeing him married to another woman.

Then again, if she had chosen the lady, and he had arrived at the conclusion that she would, he would respect her decision as the one that she believed would bring her the least despair.

Whatever his fate, he must know that she would rather suffer the guilt of responsibility for his death or the pain of his marriage than the broken heart of betrayal in knowing that in the end, her lover had not trusted her, and in his could-be final moments had intentionally acted contrary to her desire.

While this goes nowhere in respect to answering the titular question, I believe it does add a necessary level of understanding when continuing your personal consideration.

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it-only-gets-better | Student

Think about this people. The story explains about her barbaric nature like her father’s. We are also told that her lover “knows” her true nature. If these things are true, the princess would have directed him to the door with the tiger, but her lover would have known that. Consequently, he would have chosen the door she did not indicate, and he and the beautiful girl would live happily ever after.

With all due respect,  the author specifically says, "She raised her hand, and made a slight, quick movement toward the right." He also says, "Without the slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right and opened it." Therefore, the lover of the princess could not have outwitted her.

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kenzierawr | Student

Think about this people. The story explains about her barbaric nature like her father’s. We are also told that her lover “knows” her true nature. If these things are true, the princess would have directed him to the door with the tiger, but her lover would have known that. Consequently, he would have chosen the door she did not indicate, and he and the beautiful girl would live happily ever after.

In the story it says, "Her right arm lay on the cushioned parapet before her. She raised her hand, and made a slight, quick movement toward the right. No one but her lover saw her. Every eye but his was fixed on the man in the arena.

He turned, and with a firm and rapid step he walked across the empty space. Every heart stopped beating, every breath was held, every eye was fixed immovably upon that man. Without the slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right, and opened it."

So her lover chose the door that she indicated, Frank Stockton tells us that much.

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illdancearoundyourass | Student

the tiger came out because if the princess REALLY loved him than she wouldn't have even considered the tiger. And she would rather have him killed because then they could be together after death. But thats just my opinion

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quizmaster743 | Student

Personally, I believe the tiger came out. The princess would not stand for him to be married to another woman, and would most likely rather have him killed than lose him. But then again... we can never really know for sure, now can we?

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yvgubhikjmk | Student

With all due respect, I think #3 needs to look at the quoted section of text more closely. " 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!" The princess did not want him to find happiness with anyone else. She had a barbaric nature, and she knew that the beautiful young woman had cast glances upon her lover, and she had perceived those glances to be returned. This would not been taken lightly, and it is safe to say it would probably not be forgiven. In addition, let us not forget the "savage blood" that coursed through her and the "barbaric" ancestry she came from, and the fact that she hated the woman behind the door. It would seem that due to her barbaric nature she would have not wanted her lover to find happiness with another woman, and so we could assume she guided him to the door with the tiger.

Now with all that being said, we are told also that her lover ". . . understood her nature. . .", so if that is true then perhaps he would know she might not want any other woman to have him, and he would choose the door opposite the one she directed him to. So if the lady came out, perhaps it was because he outwitted his barabic lover.

I think you and # 3 have some solid evidence. but i think you missed the part where it said that he went to the door on the right so he could not have outwitted her.

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briiibabe | Student

we discussed in class. my teacher said no the tiger came out because the princess was soo jealous. thers proof in the story aparently. can u help answer my q?

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kk3391 | Student

The lady came out.

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