How can the reader complete an ending for the story "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Indubitably, an original story, "The Lady of the Tiger" presents the reader with an uncertainly that entertains, while at the same time it confounds.

In writing an ending for this tale of semi-barbaric and passionate love, the reader must decide where the balance of the two will tilt. The young man, who must choose a door which will decide his fate, is aware that the princess will have learned which doors hold the young maiden and the tiger. So, he looks up at her and she points to the right; trusting her, he goes directly to the right and opens this door.

Is he correct in trusting her? This is what the reader must decide. In making this decision, the reader needs to consider the motivation the princess has in pointing to the right. Does she want her lover to live with the maiden, or to die? Either way, she will never again be with him. So, if he dies, she does not lose her lover since he is already lost in death. If he marries the maiden, the princess also loses him but the lose is while he lives happily with this maiden. Does she want the young man's happiness? Is this consistent with her nature? Probably not.

It seems, then, that the princess, who is semi-barbaric in nature, would rather that the lover be killed and eliminated from court than to be granted marriage to the maiden only to remind the princess of what she has lost.

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The Lady or the Tiger?

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