Love’s Triumph Over Rhyme and Reasoning
The Lady or the Tiger?
A semi-barbaric king had the custom of trying accused criminals in a public arena. The trial was simple, the defendant was forced to open one of two doors in the arena wall. Behind one was a hungry tiger, and if by chance, the man choose this one, he was killed immediately by the tiger and declared guilty. Behind the other door was a lady who became the man’s wife, if her door was the one chosen. As reward he got the lady and was declared innocent. It happens that the king’s daughter takes a lover from the lower class, and to punish the man, the king one day places him in the arena. The princess has learned which door conceals the tiger and signals the man to choose the one to the right. The unanswered question is whether the princess has directed him to the tiger, sparing herself the pain of seeing him married to another, or directed him to the lady, being unable to see him die and be torn to pieces. I believe the princess directed the young man toward the lady because of the sincere love that she had toward him. Due to the intense emotion that she had felt for him, the princess would not have wanted him killed by the tiger.
The princess’s relationship with the young man reveals that she would be lead to choose the door with the lady. First, the princess and the man loved each other dearly. The author wrote: “This royal maiden was well satisfied with her lover, for he was handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this kingdom, and she loved him with an ardor that had enough of barbarism in it to make it exceeding warm and strong” (Stockton 2). Since the princess and man loved each other, the princess cannot see the man being killed by the tiger. the princess went so far as to find out the secret of the doors. Stockton writes: “From the moment that the decree has gone forth that her lover should decide his fate in the king’s arena, she had thought of nothing, night or day, but this great event and the various subjects connect with it. Possessed of more power, influence, and force of character than anyone who had ever before been interested in such a case, she had done what no other person had done; she had possessed herself of the secret of the doors” (Stockton 2). Her obtaining the secret shows that she cared for the man. She obviously wanted to save him from death, so she had the intent of choosing the door with the lady. This also shows that the princess had the determination to go discover this secret. However, after discovering who the lady was, the princess has her doubts. The lady behind the door was hated by the princess. As Stockton wrote: “And not only did she know in which room stood the lady ready to emerge, all blushing and radiant, should her door be opened, but she knew who the lady 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). Though she loves the man, she is motivated by jealousy, essentially the princess is having fears that the man would be happy with the lady. Therefore, if the princess does not feel that the man is trustworthy to remain faithful to her, then she will send him to the tiger. Lastly, it is logical that even with the princess’s jealousy and rage, behind the door chosen would be the lady. Due to the intense emotion she had for the young man, she signgals him towards the door where the lady stands, because of their love and she could not send him to his death.
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The Lady or the Tiger? A semi-barbaric king had the custom of trying accused criminals in a public arena. The trial was simple, the defendant was forced to open one […]