What does the princess do when the young man is in the arena, and what motive does she have for sending him to his death, or what motive does she have for saving his life in "The Lady, or the Tiger"?   

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In the arena, when the young man looks at the princess, she points to the right "without the slightest hesitation." Whether she points to the door with the fair maiden so he can be married and live, or to the door where the tiger waits to kill him is left up to the reader to decide.

Motive for the princess's sending the lover to the door with the tiger 
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  • The princess is semi-barbaric and possessive of crueler urges and feelings than a civilized person. She also has "an imperious" nature.
  • The princess knows the maiden that is behind the door, and she knows which door it is.

Often had she seen...this fair creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were...even returned....she had seen them talking together.

  • "With all the intensity of the savage blood transmitted to her" the princess hates the maiden.
  • She has imagined his "rapturous delight as he opened the door of the lady" and she has "gnashed her teeth" and her soul has "burned in agony" as she hears the "wild ringing of the bells" and the multitude cheering.
  • "Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity"?
  • No matter which door he chooses, the young man can never be hers again.

Motive for princess's sending the lover to the door with the maiden
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  • She loves the young man with great passion, and, therefore, may not want him to die.
  • She may wish to foil her barbaric father who probably wants the young man killed by the tiger as part of his "great scheme of punishment.
  • She may believe that the subjects of the king expect "a bloody slaughter" rather than "a hilarious wedding" because they perceive her as brutal since she is the daughter of the king. So, by letting her lover live, she can show her gentler, kinder nature.
  • She has had nightmares of the "wild horror" when her lover chooses the door of the tiger.

 

 

 

 

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