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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Explain plot events in Frank R. Stockton's "The Lady, or the Tiger?" Identify the young man's crime. Why are his actions considered criminal?

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In Stockton's "The Lady, or the Tiger?" a pair of lovers are pitted against each other because the princess is of a higher social status than her beau. Her father, the king, likes to play with people's fate whenever they are sentenced of a crime. The princess's love is of...

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In Stockton's "The Lady, or the Tiger?" a pair of lovers are pitted against each other because the princess is of a higher social status than her beau. Her father, the king, likes to play with people's fate whenever they are sentenced of a crime. The princess's love is of a lower birth than she, so her father has him arrested and put up for "trial" in his own peculiar way. The poor boy's crimes are not only that he is born into a lower social class than the king's daughter, but that he had the audacity to think that he could actually pursue the princess behind the king's back. Other "crimes" might include how Stockton describes as, "This royal maiden was well satisfied with her lover, for he was handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this kingdom; and she loved him with an ardor that had enough barbarism in it to make it exceedingly warm and strong." The fact that the youth looked the part, too, made him an easy target for the king to search high and low for the fiercest of tigers in order to provide his audience with one of the greatest of battles ever presented to the kingdom. The king loved to provide his kingdom with a great fight, which they also loved, and the young boy's power and strength were reasons enough to create a great, epic battle. Therefore, the crimes were great enough in the king's mind, which made the situation even more dramatic for the kingdom and created a great conflict for the kingdom to enjoy.

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