Does the tiger come out of the same door in each trial?Frank R. Stockton's "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If the tiger comes out of the same door in the ampitheatre each time, the element of chance is removed--the "justice" of the semibarbaric king--and the person on trial will know which one to pick in order to keep from dying.  And, it is this element of chance that entertains the people who attend, as well.

Indeed,without this element of uncertainly, the main point of the story is lost.  For, the author, Frank R. Stockton, creates suspense with his descriptions of the "semi-barbaric" princess whose controversial behavior earlier in the narrative creates an ambiguity regarding which door she points to for her lover.  This lover, uncertain of which door holds the tiger and death, and which door holds the maiden and his future, must decide the motives of the princess who has demonstrated previously some jealousy of him.  Finally, this uncertainly is left to the reader to resolve as the author ends the story abruptly.

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The Lady or the Tiger?

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