Figurative language is any kind of language or figure of speech that does not employ the literal meaning. Certainly, author Frank R. Stockton uses figurative language in his narrative.
Examples of figurative language are in italics:
In the exposition, Stockton employs exaggeration and irony in his description of the kingdom and the semi-barbaric king, a man of "exuberant fancy and of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied fancies into facts."
The king's "exuberant fancy" is a figure of speech for his ideas about how to punish those who commit crimes. His authority is only "irresistible" because he is king and he cruelly enforces his rules. He has an "exuberant fancy" that he exercises: his public arena in which there are exhibitions of man against beast. These exhibitions are used as part of his impartial and incorruptible chance." This "chance" involves the choice that the accused makes between one door of the arena or another. One of the doors holds a deadly lion and the other one holds a maiden that the accused marries (whether he is already married or not).
Clearly, the use of figurative language in the story "The Lady, or the Tiger?" lends a greater impact upon the characterization of the "semi-barbaric" king and princess, as well as having an interesting influence upon the interpretation of the story.