What is unique about the king's arena?

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The king's arena is unique because it is used to try, in a way, those who are accused of a crime that is of enough significance to catch the king's attention. Although the arena's design has been borrowed from other arenas in other far-off places, this king puts it to a different use than others have done. He does not follow tradition but, rather, his own "fancy," or imagination. Once the accused enters the arena, he is faced with two doors—his "trial" consists of his choosing one of these doors. Behind one is a hungry tiger, and, if the accused opens this door, the tiger will immediately maul him and kill him; behind the other is a lady, "the most suitable to his years and station that his majesty could select among his fair subjects, and to this lady he was immediately married, as a reward of his innocence." It is the accused himself that decides his own fate by opening of the doors and either getting eaten by the tiger or married to the woman.

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The king's arena was built upon a model he had borrowed from surrounding countries who were less ostensibly "barbaric" than his own, but he put his arena to a different use than those he imitated. While other nations used their arenas to give people the opportunity to view gladiators fighting and watch the clashes between Christians and tigers—obviously, to us, these are barbaric uses, but in Ancient Rome, they were acceptable—the king used his as "an agent of poetic justice." This meant that he used it to punish crimes or reward virtue in front of a grand audience. The king had invented this idea himself, being beholden to his own whims and fancies more than to anything else. When a crime was sufficiently interesting for him, he would want to have it showcased in his arena.

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