What details are relevant to the outcome of the story "The Lady, or Tiger"?

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Certain details about the nature of the king and his daughter are relevant to the outcome of the story "The Lady, or The Tiger?"

  • In the opening paragraph the king is described as "semi-barbaric" and despotic as he agrees only with himself on matters. And, when everything goes smoothly, "his nature is bland and genial." However, when things do not go as he wants, he makes the "crooked straight," and he "crushes down uneven places."
  • His daughter, the princess, is also semi-barbaric. She has the same passionate nature as that of her father, and she loves a young man with "enough of barbarism in it to make it exceedingly warm and strong." But, her lover is of a lowly station and not fit for a princess.
  • The king learns that his daughter has this lover, who is of a lowly station.
  • This semibarbaric king uses an "impartial and incorruptible" form of justice based solely upon Chance. When the accused is taken to an arena where there are two doors, he must choose one. If a ferocious tiger emerges, then he is torn to pieces as punishment for his guilt.


These details indicate that the king and his daughter both are capable of cruelty, and they are only partially civilized. So, even though the princess loves the young man, she is capable of cruelty, especially after she has seen her lover talking to another fair maiden.


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