The Lady, or the Tiger? Questions and Answers
by Francis Richard Stockton

The Lady, or the Tiger? book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What are two things the audience sees in the arena if the accused person chooses the lady's door in "The Lady or the Tiger" by Frank Stockton?  

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,300 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

In Stockton's short story "The Lady or the Tiger?," the semi-barbaric king has an extremely unique method of administering justice and has a magnificent amphitheater constructed for this particular purpose. Once the arena is filled with citizens from throughout the kingdom, the accused subject of the king's choosing steps out into the amphitheater, where he has the decision to choose between two doors at the opposite end of the arena to decide his fate. Behind one of the doors is a ferocious, unchained tiger, and behind the other door is a beautiful maiden. If the accused subject chooses the door with the tiger behind it, the crowd witnesses the wild beast brutally attack and murder the man. Once the criminal is dead, iron bells ring as hired mourners positioned around the arena begin to wail.

If the accused subject chooses the door with the lovely maiden behind it, the two are immediately married, as a reward for his innocence. Another door beneath the king opens, and a priest, who is followed by a band of choristers and dancing maidens, enters the arena to marry the couple and celebrate their wedding. Instead of doleful iron bells ringing, cheerful brass bells ring as the entire amphitheater full of people participates in the extravagant marriage celebration.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

kathik eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write398 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

In "The Lady or the Tiger" by Frank Stockton, if the accused chooses the door leading to the lady, a couple of things happen. A door opens and out comes a priest, a group of singers and dancing ladies. The accused and the chosen lady are immediately married. It does not matter if the man has a wife already or that he is in love with someone else. By the king's decree, the man must marry the lady that has been chosen for him and who stands behind the door he just picked.

The priest marries the two, and a big party is held right then and there. Children throw flowers in the newlyweds' path, and the couple is led home to start their lives together.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial