What decides an accused person's fate in "The Lady, or the Tiger"?
Chance is the decider of an accused person's fate in "The Lady, or the Tiger?"
The semi-barbaric king of Stockton's tale has devised a means of "poetic justice" for those who have acted against his authority: A vast amphitheater has been constructed which has galleries around the circular structure, a mysterious vault, and many secret passages. Inside this impressive structure, crime is punished "by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance."
Whenever a subject is accused of a crime that is significant enough to draw the interest of the king, a public notice is made that announces the day on which the accused person's fate will be decided in the royal amphitheater's arena. On the appointed date, the king's subjects assemble as the king is seated on his royal throne above them. When he so desires, the king gives a signal and a door opens for the accused subject to enter the arena. Across from the space from where the accused enters, there are two identical doors that are side by side.
It was the duty and the privilege of the person on trial to walk directly to these doors and open one of them...He was subject to no guidance or influence but that of the afore-mentioned impartial and incorruptible chance.
While chance is "impartial" and "incorruptible," it does, however, lack fairness and justification in its providing the accused person the dubious "privilege" of choosing his own fate.
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