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 three major conflicts in "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

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The first major conflict in "The Lady, or the Tiger?" is a person-versus-self conflict that focuses on the princess's decision to kill her lover or allow him to marry the maiden. The second is a person-versus-person conflict between the courtier and the princess. The two lovers struggle to understand each other's feelings and intentions. The third conflict is a person-versus-person conflict between the king and the courtier.

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In the short story "The Lady, or the Tiger?" by Francis Richard Stockton , a barbaric king devises a cruel form of judgment based on random chance. The accused person is put into an arena with two doors. Behind one door is a ravenous tiger, and behind the other a...

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lovely lady. The person's guilt or innocence is determined by the choice he makes and whether he lives or dies.

The plot centers on a courtier who presumes to have an affair with the princess. After months of intrigue, the king finds out and sentences the courtier to the arena. We see, then, that the first major conflict is between the king and the courtier. The courtier has "dared to love the daughter of a king," and the king determines that he must be judged for this crime.

The princess who loves the courtier determines to find out who the lady behind the door will be and also which door the lady will be behind. It turns out that the lady the king has selected is someone who has been flirting with the courtier, and for this reason, the princess hates her. The second major conflict, therefore, is between the princess and the chosen lady.

The third major conflict has to do with the choice that the courtier makes. This is a conflict that involves several elements. We could say that it is a conflict between the courtier and the princess, because their love is being tested. We could say it is a conflict within the mind of the princess, because she has to decide whether to spare the life of her lover by allowing him to marry another lovely lady or to give in to her jealousy and let the tiger tear her lover apart. We could also say that it is a conflict within the mind of the courtier, because he has to decide whether to trust his lover or not.

This overriding conflict also exists in the minds of the readers, because the author never resolves it, choosing instead to end the story with the question, "Which came out of the open door—the lady or the tiger?"

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In Stockton's celebrated short story "The Lady or the Tiger," the primary internal conflict is considered a Person vs. Self conflict. It concerns the semi-barbaric princess's difficult decision to spare her lover's life. The princess struggles to decide what door to lead her lover towards. The semi-barbaric princess is described as being extremely jealous, and hates the fact that her lover would immediately marry a beautiful maiden if he chooses the correct door. If her lover chooses the opposite door, he will instantly be consumed by a ferocious tiger. Either way, the princess will lose her lover; she struggles to decide what door to lead him towards.

Another conflict in the story is considered a Person vs. Person conflict between the young courtier and the princess. The accused courtier must determine whether or not to trust the princess's recommendation regarding which door to choose. He must recognize if the princess is jealous enough to purposely steer him in the wrong direction towards the door with the tiger or exercise sympathy by allowing him to marry the beautiful maiden. The princess also experiences a similar conflict and must convince her lover to trust her advice. It is a battle of wits between the courtier and the princess; the two lovers struggle to understand each other's intentions and thought process.

The third conflict is considered as Person vs. Person conflict between the king and the young courtier. The king disapproves of the lowly courtier's relationship with his royal daughter and immediately has him arrested. The king would never allow a courtier to climb the social ladder and marry his daughter. This is why he has him imprisoned and brought to trial in front of a packed arena, where he will test his luck by choosing between the two fateful doors.

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In literature there are both external and internal conflicts. An external conflict involves a person against some outside entity such as another person, nature, or society. An internal conflict involves a person struggling with themselves over opposing choices, needs, or emotions. In Frank Stockton's short story "The Lady or the Tiger?" there is one external conflict and two internal conflicts. The story involves an arena where an accused person has the choice of two doors, one of which means certain death while the second holds life and marriage. The accused has an immediate internal conflict in his choice of doors. If he chooses correctly he is promptly married and might actually live happily ever after. On the other hand, if his choice is poor, he is immediately attacked and killed by a hungry tiger. Obviously this choice would cause a great deal of anxiety within the accused.

The second conflict in the story is best labeled man vs. man. The king discovers that his daughter has a lover who is far below her in social stature. Therefore the king seeks to dispose of the young man and so condemns him to the arena where he will either be killed, or married to another young woman and thus unavailable to the princess.

Finally, the princess, who is described as passionate and "semi-barbaric," seems to experience an internal conflict because she has been able to determine from which door would emerge the tiger and which door the lady. She can point to the door with the tiger and have her lover killed so he can never be possessed by another woman. Alternately, she can show mercy and point him to the door with the lady. Either way she will lose him forever and her decision is so monumental that Stockton leaves it up to the reader to decide how the princess finally will resolve her conflict.

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The main conflict in the story is between the princess and herself. Should she betray her lover and send him to his death or allow him to be married to someone else, and allow herself to live in jealousy and self-consciousness for the rest of her life?

Another conflict is between the suitor and the princess and the king. The king dislikes that the suitor is not royalty, but the princess and the suitor believe that it shouldn't matter in the face of love.

The last conflict that I would consider would be an internal conflict of the suitor--should he listen to the princess or choose the door she doesn't point to?

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What are the three major conflicts in the story "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

The main conflict of the story concerns the princess's difficult decision to spare her lover's life or lead him to certain death. Stockton's open ending revolves around the princess's internal conflict by challenging the reader to view the situation from her perspective. Although the princess loves the courtier, she is extremely jealous and cannot stand to see him happily married to another beautiful maiden. She is also described as semi-barbaric like her father and possesses the resolve needed to end her lover's life.

Another internal conflict concerns the courtier's decision to trust the princess's instructions and choose the door she suggests. The courtier is familiar with the princess's semi-barbaric nature and more than likely recognizes her intense jealousy. Faced with the most important decision of his life, the courtier must choose which door to open. Although he looks to the princess for guidance, he must recognize her true intentions and judge whether or not she is leading him toward certain death.

There are several external conflicts in the story, which include the conflict between the king and the lowly courtier as well as the courtier versus society. The king believes the courtier is not worthy of his daughter and puts him on trial for having a relationship with the princess. The courtier's relationship with the princess is forbidden because of the difference in their social classes. Tragically, he is sentenced to undergo the public trial and decide his fate by choosing one of the two doors.

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What are the three major conflicts in the story "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

The three major types of conflict that shape storytelling are generally man versus man, man versus self, and man versus society. "The Lady, or the Tiger?" contains examples of all three types.

This story's use of man-versus-man conflict is centered around its king, who orders the youth to undergo this trial, with chance dictating whether he will be found guilty (and killed by the tiger) or found innocent (and married). The king is clearly the villain of the piece.

Meanwhile, the story's use of man versus society can be observed perhaps most strongly in the romance between the youth and the princess. They love one another intensely, but theirs is a forbidden relationship, one that must be pursued in secret, and as soon as it is discovered, the youth is forced into the trial.

The last, and (within the context of the story) most vital conflict is internalized, existing within the mind of the princess herself. As the story reveals to us, the princess has managed to discern which of the doors holds the tiger and which the lady, and she furthermore has the ability to signal to the youth which one he should pick. However, this raises the story's critical dilemma: is she is willing to save her beloved if it means giving him up? It is this internalized conflict, in which her love for the youth is weighed against her feelings of jealousy and resentment, that shapes the story's thematic architecture and the cliffhanger on which it ends.

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What are the three major conflicts in the story "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

The major conflict in the story occurs inside the daughter of the king. Her beloved is being forced to undergo a barbaric "trial" in which he must pick a door in the arena and either be eaten by a tiger or married to a beautiful woman who is a rival to the princess.

This leads to the princess being torn between altruism and jealousy, which becomes the first conflict. The same powerful emotion of love that has driven her to find out what door the tiger is behind will lead her to anguish if her beloved dies but also to anguish if she has to watch him every day married to another woman. She has to decide if saving his life is worth the pain it will cost her.

Second, the story sets up a conflict between superstition and rationalism. The whole idea of setting up a system of reward and punishment based on "poetic justice"—the idea that the fates or providence will give out to people their just reward—is highly questionable, and the story invites us to debate the king's methods.

Third, the story—as Stockton intended—sets up the conflict inside of us as to what we would do if we were in the princess's position. All of us might think we would take the altruistic path, but often people serve self-interest. The story is a vehicle for exploring why we might or might not save the person in question.

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What are the three major conflicts in the story "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

There are plenty of conflicts in this story.  The primary three are as follows:

1.  Man vs. man - King vs. Courtier.  If the king doesn't sentence his daughter's young lover to the arena, there is no story.

2.  Man vs. society - Courtier vs. this semi-barbaric justice system, a system controlled by uncontrollable fate.

3.  Man vs. self - In this case, woman vs. self.  The princess has a huge internal conflict once she's discovered the secret of the door.  Which door will she direct her young lover to, she wonders.  So do we, and that's what makes the story intriguing to us. 

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What are some of the conflicts presented in "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

Stockton's The Lady, or the Tiger? is similar to the logic puzzle Knights and Knaves, but cannot be solved with logic. The reader, in deciding the ending, shows something of his or her inner thoughts.

There are several major conflicts present in the story, so we will touch on two: Man vs. Society and Man vs. Destiny.

Man vs. Society: in the world of the story, the punishment of allowing the prisoner to choose his own fate -- marry a stranger or die at the claws of a tiger -- is considered reasonable, fair, and great entertainment.

The institution was a very popular one. When the people gathered together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether they were to witness a bloody slaughter or a hilarious wedding. This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion which it could not otherwise have attained.

It is described in the text as "semi-barbaric," and would seem today to be completely so. However, in the context of the story, it is completely normal. The princess's lover is subjected to the punishment, and he goes without complaint, but he still seeks to cheat by looking to her for guidance. In this way, he rebels against the Society that finds the game amusing; even if he is killed by the tiger, he has thwarted the game by refusing to play by the rules.

Man vs. Destiny: simply put, any man who would dare to love the princess would be guaranteed a trip to the trial pit. The youth would know this; he fights his Destiny by refusing to be swayed by the possibility of a brutal death.

"...one day the king happened to discover [the affair's] existence. He did not hesitate nor waver in regard to his duty in the premises. The youth was immediately cast into prison..."

Since the punishment is a foregone conclusion, one must conclude that the youth considered his love for the princess and their time together to be an worth his eventual Destiny.

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