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The Lady, or the Tiger?   By: (1834-1902)

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The story "The Lady, or the Tiger?" by Frank Richard Stockton is a fascinating and thought-provoking piece of literature. Set in an ancient kingdom, the story revolves around a young man who is put on trial for loving the king's daughter, a princess.

What makes this story captivating is the moral dilemma presented to the reader. After the young man is found guilty, he is given the choice to open one of two identical doors. Behind one door, there is a ferocious tiger, and behind the other is a beautiful lady whom the accused will be forced to marry. The catch is that the princess, who is in love with the young man, knows which door hides which fate, but she remains silent until he chooses.

The story expertly navigates the complexities of human emotions, exploring themes of love, jealousy, and sacrifice. Stockton skillfully keeps the reader engaged in the intense speculation about what lies behind each door and what decision the young man ultimately makes.

The author leaves the ending ambiguous, leaving it up to the reader to decide which door the young man chooses and what fate befalls him. This open-endedness is both frustrating and thought-provoking, forcing readers to dig deep into their own moral compasses and question the motivations of the characters.

The writing style is simple and direct, yet effective in delivering the story's message. Stockton's use of descriptive language helps to immerse the reader in the medieval setting and create a vivid mental picture of the events unfolding.

"The Lady, or the Tiger?" raises significant questions about the nature of humans and the complexities of love and sacrifice. It challenges readers to consider the lengths they would go to protect their loved ones and the consequences of their choices.

Overall, "The Lady, or the Tiger?" is an intriguing short story that captures the imagination and leaves readers pondering the moral dilemmas it presents. Stockton artfully crafts a narrative that is both entertaining and thought-provoking, making it a timeless piece of literature worth exploring and discussing.

First Page:



Frank R. Stockton

In the very olden time there lived a semi barbaric king, whose ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors, were still large, florid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self communing, and, when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done. When every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial; but, whenever there was a little hitch, and some of his orbs got out of their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight and crush down uneven places.

Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined and cultured.

But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself. The arena of the king was built, not to give the people an opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of dying gladiators, nor to enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conflict between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the people... Continue reading book >>

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