What is the climax in the story "The Lady, or the Tiger"?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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What is fascinating about this story is that the princess has already given her lover the signal and he is already opening the door she indicated. This story is told as if it is an actual episode that occurred in history. So what we are left wondering is not what will happen but what did happen. Whatever it was, it happened a long time ago. Maybe it no longer matters because all the people involved would be dead. What we wonder is whether the princess let her lover be killed or whether she let him be married to her beautiful rival. Her choice seems to reflect on females in general. What would a contemporary woman do in the same circumstances? How do women think? Can they be trusted?

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troutmiller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The story actually ends in the climax, unlike most short stories.  Usually there is a complete plot diagram that is followed.  However, this story has a hanging ending.  That is why the climax is at the very end.  We do not know what is behind the door the princess has him open.  Because the story does not officially end for the reader, the falling action/resolution of the story is not presented to us.  The reader must choose his or her own ending.  Most students feel strongly one way or the other because of this ending.  They either love having the choice of the ending, or they hate that the story doesn't officially end for them. 

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