two doorways with an elegant woman standing in one and a large tiger head in the other

The Lady, or the Tiger?

by Francis Richard Stockton

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What are the main events in "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

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In a fictional kingdom in a past time period (probably the middle ages or earlier), a king has an arena built for criminals. Being only half-barbarian, the king allows criminals sentenced to the arena two doors to pick from: behind one is a beautiful maiden the criminal must marry and behind the other is a ferocious tiger. Essentially, they have to pick between marriage and death. The king views this as rather progressive.

The king's daughter takes a commoner as her lover, which is illegal, so the king sentences the commoner to the arena. The commoner looks to the princess during his sentence, hoping she will give him a clue as to which door to pick. The princess is characterized as being both merciful and jealous. She wants her lover to live, but she also thinks she'd rather see him dead than in another woman's arms (especially the woman behind the door, who is someone the princess hates since she believes she, too, wants her lover). She signals to one door, but the reader never finds out which fate befell the commoner.

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A king in a mythic kingdom has built an arena for dealing with criminals. It has two doors. Behind one is a lady and behind the other a man-eating tiger. If the criminal chooses the lady, he marries her, and if he chooses the tiger he gets eaten.

The king’s daughter and a commoner are in love, but their relationship is illegal. The man is sentenced to the arena. Behind one door is a tiger. Behind the other is a woman the princess thinks may be trying to have a relationship with her lover. The man looks at the princess, who knows which door contains which, and she indicates which door he should choose. The reader doesn’t find out what is behind the door.

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What are the main ideas and supporting details of "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

This sounds like a loaded question. I suppose what you (or your teacher) are driving at is that the story line itself is supporting evidence for the hypothesis that anybody can commit a violent act if driven to it. "The catalyst" in this story triggering an act of violence would of course be jealousy, tempting the princess to sacrifice her lover in the arena rather than see him "taken" by another woman.

Whether she actually did it or not is left to the reader's speculation and contemplation.

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