Why is the setting important in "The Lady, or the Tiger"?
How would the story change if set in a different time and place?
Give detailed information from the text that helped you develop your response.
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Setting is always important to a story, and for a story in which impossible things happen the setting is even more important. I equate this to the setting of "The Most Dangerous Game," an island where cannibalistic hunting can take place. That just couldn't happen anywhere else, and the same is true for "The Lady, or the Tiger?" Put this plot into any other setting and it would not happen--the king would be de-throned, this "justice system" would be overthrown, and the entire story would be impossible. Setting matters.
In general, setting is usually important in most stories. In The Lady or the Tiger, the story is taking pace in a time long ago, very Roman-esque, and with characters that reflect that.
If the author tried to write this story in another time, it probably wouldn't be about the same characters, consequences, anything. The same premise could be there, but the fact is the suitor was facing a lady, or a tiger.
In the story, the king was described as semi-barbaric and loved promoting justice even though his medium was the arena and the punishment or reward was a result of pure luck.
Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined and cultured.
If this story took place somewhere else, would we feel the desperation of facing a live tiger, or of having the reward be a beautiful maiden? No. Would the princess choose to have her lover be with the woman she despised and thought was trying to have her man or choose to have him ripped to shreds by the hungry tiger? There is just a different sense of desperation with this setting than if it was out on the open range in 1885. Different characters, different problems, different choices would all emerge because of a different setting.
The setting is appropriate for this story because it has a very Greco-Roman tone and mood; this makes it a good place for the plot to develop. We would not believe the idea of a man being forced to choose between certain death or a woman's love in other places or times.
For instance, if this story were set during the French Revolution, we would have a hard time accepting the events of the plot as real or valid. Certainly, it was a period of great cruelty and hardship, but this form of "justice" would not have been used there.
Likewise, the semi-barbaric king and the other characters in this story would not have fit into other places or times. We would not be able to picture the described people, for instance, in a Civil War short story. The setting helps make this story intriguing as well as believable.
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