The Lady Or the Tiger Short Story Theme

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The Lady or The Tiger Essay

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Princess' Choice in The Lady or the Tiger
  • Conclusion


If you had the choice for your lover to either marry another woman whom you despise or be eaten alive by a tiger what would you choose? The short story “The Lady or The Tiger” is about a semi-barbaric king whose idea of justice is either death by a tiger, if you find yourself guilty or marriage whether you like it or not if you find yourself guilty. The king discovers an affair between his daughter, the princess, and one of his men. He puts the young man on trial in a place called the King’s Arena. No one, including the princess, is supposed to know which door the lady and the tiger lie behind, but the princess discovers which door is which and has to decide where to lead her lover. “It should be clear that Stockton provides enough evidence of the princess choosing the tiger for her lover. ”

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The Princess' Choice in The Lady or the Tiger

The princess chose the door with the tiger because no one else should be worthy of the young man’s love. The young man was so handsome that no one but the princess deserved his love and affection. “Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance was greeted with a low hum of admiration and anxiety. Half the audience had not known so grand a youth lived among them” (Stockton 2). The princess didn’t believe anyone else was worthy of a lover as beautiful as him and that only she should have him. The young man’s appearance is more suited to the life of high nobility and that is why no one expected that such a handsome man lived among them.

The princess despises the maiden chosen for her lover in the event that he chooses the door that proves him innocent. The princess hated the lady chosen for her lover as a reward, so she would not want them to be together no matter what the cost was. “It was one of the fairest and loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as the reward of the accused youth, should he be proved innocent of the crime of aspiring to one so far above him and the princess hated her” (Stockton 3). The princess feels that everyone else is unworthy of the young man's love and that only she is good enough to have him. The princess hates the maiden that would be married to her love if he chooses that door because the princess doesn’t like her, she would not want the maiden to be happy with her lover or her lover to be happy with the maiden.


The princess chose the door with the tiger behind it. Stockton wanted us to see this as fact. The princess chose to direct her lover to the door of the tiger because she didn’t believe anyone deserved his love. He was so handsome, and his features were fitted to the noble class. She also chose this door because she hated the maiden chosen for her lover and didn’t want to think of the thought of them being happy together. The semi-barbaric princess chose the door with the tiger that leads her lover to certain death because she couldn’t bear to see him with another woman.

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