The Lady Or The Tiger Characters

Who are the characters of "The Lady or the Tiger"?

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There are five main characters in Francis Richard Stockton's story "The Lady or the Tiger?" The story is written in the style of a parable or fairy tale, so the characters do not have individual names, but rather are given titles based on their social and narrative roles.

  • King: The King is the ruler of a semi-barbaric kingdom, who emulates certain Roman traditions but is still fiercer and less civilized than he might like to appear. He is the father of the Princess and disapproves of the Courtier.
  • Courtier: This is a young man from the minor nobility who loves the Princess. 
  • Princess: She is the daughter of the King and the beloved of the Courtier.
  • Lady: This woman has been selected by the King to marry to Courtier if he opens the right door. 
  • Tiger: This ferocious, man-eating tiger will kill the young man if he opens the wrong door.
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The courtier is a young man who is imprisoned because he engaged in an affair with the king's daughter, the princess.

The king is a man who enjoys giving prisoners a choice as to their fate. He has developed a system that has the prisoner choose between two doors-one leads to freedom, the other to an arena and certain death. He takes vicious strides in choosing the tiger for the young man who engaged in an affair with his daughter. The other door has a lovely woman who he must wed should he choose that door.

The lady is the young woman who is behind the other door. She causes the princess much jealousy and anguish.

The princess is in love with the young man. Her red-hot jealousy is causing her to consider letting him go to the arena and be ripped apart by the tiger, rather than living with his marriage to another woman. The choice is never revealed to the reader.

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