«The Lady or the Tiger» is a short story without resolution. Set in a kingdom ruled by a semi-barbaric king, the story centers around the king’s approach to justice. Any subject who commits a crime of sufficient interest is summoned to the royal arena where they choose their fate by picking between two doors. Behind one door is a fierce tiger that will eat the person alive, and behind the other door is a fair maiden to whom they will be married at once; the fate of the individual is determined by chance.
One day, the king finds out that his daughter has fallen in love with a brave, sincere young man. However, he is not of royal birth. Enraged by this, the king summons him to the arena to determine his fate. Meanwhile, the princess uses her guile and bribery to gain knowledge of the doors’ arrangement and that the woman behind the one door has previously aroused jealousy in the princess. Knowing this information, the princess signals for her lover to open the door to the right. Then the story ends, and the author asks the readers to decide what fate the princess chose for her lover.
Essential Questions for «The Lady or the Tiger»
- Do you believe that you choose your own fate?
- Can you say with certainty what you would do when faced with a dilemma?