What is the king's relationship with the subjects of his kingdom?
The king in Frank R. Stockton's short story "The Lady, or the Tiger?" is considered "semi-barbaric." Usually the king also represents the type of people who live in the kingdom. He's a typical dictator, though, so his subjects must play the game his way or they suffer the consequences. For example the king is described in the following way:
"When every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial; but whenever there was a little hitch, . . . he was blander and more genial still."
So it would seem that the king treats his subjects fairly well as long as they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. However, the "semi-barbaric" part surfaces when it's time to convict someone of a crime.
"Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined and cultured."
Another way to say this is that his subjects were conditioned to accept the arena as the official judicial procedure for convictions. This is fine until one day a subject is publicly notified for his own appointment in the arena. The king chooses anyone he feels should be placed in the arena to go at a moment's notice. This part can't be very popular among the king's subjects. For the most part, though, a subject won't get called to the arena unless he has done something to offend the king, one might never know when or how he has offended the king. For the audience, who consists of the king's subjects, it seems like a big game for them, as follows:
"The moment that the case of the criminal was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, great wails went up from the hired mourners posted on the outer rim of the arena, and the vast audience, with bowed heads downcast hearts, wended slowly their homeward way. . ."
Therefore, the king's relationship with his subjects seems to be good except for one little part of his administration which is extreme and "semi-barbaric." Since his subjects are made from the same cloth as the king, they accept him and his arena.
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