A literary term/technique that dominates Frank Stockton's "The Lady, or the Tiger?" is irony of situation and oxymoron. Clearly, there is a sharp contrast between the descriptions of characters and their actions and words, and the use of oxymoron in Stockton's phrasing. For instance, in the exposition of the story, the king is described as "semi-barbaric," a term which of itself is contradictory. Then, this king who has "perfect justice" is described as self-communing--"when he and himself agreed upon anything" it was done. Stockton continues his irony, narrating that when
every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial still, [but when]some of his orbs got out of their orbits, he was blander and genial still
as he punishes his subjects in his "barbaric idealism" [oxymoron] through the use of his vast ampitheatre that is
an agent of poetic justice in which crime was punished...by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance
that is attended by the subjects who are "refined" and "cultured."