The Lady or the Tiger? Questions and Answers
by Francis Richard Stockton

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What are the 3 major conflicts in the story "The Lady or the Tiger?"

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The major conflict in the story occurs inside the daughter of the king. Her beloved is being forced to undergo a barbaric "trial" in which he must pick a door in the arena and either be eaten by a tiger or married to a beautiful woman who is a rival to the princess.

This leads to the princess being torn between altruism and jealousy, which becomes the first conflict. The same powerful emotion of love that has driven her to find out what door the tiger is behind will lead her to anguish if her beloved dies but also to anguish if she has to watch him every day married to another woman. She has to decide if saving his life is worth the pain it will cost her.

Second, the story sets up a conflict between superstition and rationalism. The whole idea of setting up a system of reward and punishment based on "poetic justice"—the idea that the fates or providence will give out to people their just reward—is highly questionable, and the story invites us to debate the king's methods.

Third, the story—as Stockton intended—sets up the conflict inside of us as to what we would do if we were in the princess's position. All of us might think we would take the altruistic path, but often people serve self-interest. The story is a vehicle for exploring why we might or might not save the person in question.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are plenty of conflicts in this story.  The primary three are as follows:

1.  Man vs. man - King vs. Courtier.  If the king doesn't sentence his daughter's young lover to the arena, there is no story.

2.  Man vs. society - Courtier vs. this semi-barbaric justice system, a system controlled by uncontrollable fate.

3.  Man vs. self - In this case, woman vs. self.  The princess has a huge internal conflict once she's discovered the secret of the door.  Which door will she direct her young lover to, she wonders.  So do we, and that's what makes the story intriguing to us. 

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cristian1 | Student
major conflicts

what is the 3 major conflicts in the story

1, the prisoner has a choise to make between the two doors without knowing which is the good door. 2,the princess knows what is behind each door. 3, she hates the lady behind the right door but then decides that he should open the right door. 

cristian1 | Student
major conflicts

what is the 3 major conflicts in the story

3 major conflicts of the story are that a prisoner has a choise to make. He will have to open one of the two doors once he is left out of his cell, another is that the princess hates the lady behind the right door and knows which is which, and last she decides that he should open the right door.