In Frank Stockton's short story "The Lady or the Tiger," the princess must make a very difficult decision. The princess must decide to send her love to either meet his death at the jaws of a tiger or be married immediately to a beautiful woman.
The princess is described as possessing a "soul as fervent and imperious as his (her semi-barbaric father) own. Therefore, it would be understandable if the princess were to send her love to the tiger. The princess can be compared to both the lady or the tiger regarding the decision that she makes regarding her lover's fate.
The princess' choice to send her lover to the tiger wold show her own character to be merciless--like a tiger. Therefore, if the princess were to send her lover to the tiger, she would be able to be characterized as one.
If the princess were to choose to send her love to the door of the beautiful woman, one could consider her a true lady. This action would confirm her ability to push past her semi-barbaric nature and allow her love to marry another woman.
The choice she makes, whether her love dies or marries another, reveals her true nature. If she sends her love to the tiger because she cannot bear to see him marry another, her choice reveals that her nature is similar to a ferocious, pitiless beast's. If she sends her love to the lady because she would rather see him married to another than dead, her choice reveals that her nature is similar to the fair and lovely lady's.