Why did the author of "The Lady or the Tyger?" consider the King's system of justice perfectly fair?
"The Lady, or the Tiger?" is, at its core, an ironic tale. There is a world which doesn't really exist, a kingdom which existed long, long ago, and a semi-barbaric king. He thinks it's perfectly reasonable to determine guilt or innocence by standing in front of two doors behind which is the most eligible lady in the land or a hungry tiger. He sits "blandly" in the stands and watches his particular form of justice unfold, without showing too much emotion for either outcome. He is satisfied that justice has been done. This is the kind of understatement typical of irony--a contrast between what is said and what is meant. It's similar in tone to Swift's "A Modest Proposal," in which he puts forth the "perfectly reasonable" idea that since there are too many mothers having too many babies we should sell them and eat them. (They are most delicious in a fricassee, he has heard.) The very reasonableness of his tone contrasts with the outrageousness of his suggestion. Likewise, the very reasonableness of this form of justice is in direct contrast with the barbarism of the practice.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial