Why were the shows in the arena important to the king's people?

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In Stockton's "The Lady, or the Tiger?" it's not just the trials that the people like, but the whole structure of the arena as well. The text says that the king built the arena not just for violent entertainment, "but for purposes far better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the people." That is to say that the king wanted to also mentally challenge his subjects, not just to provide an event to waste time. The structure of the amphitheater also has "encircling galleries, its mysterious vaults,...

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