In "The Lady or the Tiger," what words best describe the lover of the Princess?
The prince is described as a generic romance hero: he is handsome, brave and poor. Words used to describe him in the story include "fineness of blood" and "lowness of station," characteristics that author Frank Stockton says are common to the "conventional heroes of romance." He is so tall, fair and beautiful that when he walks into the arena to choose his fate, the audience reacts with a "low hum" of both admiration and apprehension.
The author also uses the cliche "apple of his eye" to describe this man's love for the princess, another indication that he is more a type than a fully fleshed-out character.
The emphasis is on the passionate and strong-willed princess, who is described as somewhat barbaric and full of ardor. She is the one who determines the outcome of the story. We learn that the brave and handsome lover understands her and knows when he sees her that she knows what door the tiger is behind.
In "The Lady or The Tiger" the courtier is said to be "brave above everyone in the kingdom," but the only proof we have of that is when he walks into the arena to face the consequences for his impulsive relationship with a "higher-born" princess. This impulsiveness also displays his defiant behavior toward the King.
The characteristic which most defines the courtier is loyalty. He is so trusting and so loyal to the princess that he puts his life in her hands. He looks to her to save his life by telling him which door to choose. He believes that the princess will tell him the door with the lady behind it and steer him away from certain death from the tiger.