"The Lady or the Tiger": What Really Happened?

Dustin Powers Mr. Lamon AP Language 3 December 2012 “The Lady or the Tiger”: What really happened? The Lady or the Tiger, a captivating short story of love and loss, teases your imagination by integrating the rising action at the end of the story only to leave you to make your own interpretation of how the falling action concludes. The author uses a third person omniscient narrator so to make it seem as though the he doesn’t even know how the story truly ends. The finale to the short story has been conversation of much debate.

What is behind door he opens? Does he die on the princess’s accord? What happens, no one essentially knows, but him dying is the only logical ending that could subsist. The tale starts out with a fascinating introduction by classifying the king as “semi barbaric” “florid” and “untrammeled,” but on the contrary the narrator begins to describe him as “…somewhat polished and sharpened by the progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors…” Although it is not directly stated where the tale takes place, one can pin point the story to Medieval Europe c. 00-400 AD, a very tumultuous time. Influenced greatly by the Roman Empire, as they were a prominent society at the time, the European continent was at a crossroads between the liberalism of the Latin culture, and the less enlightened methodologies that were prerequisite to the changes at the time. This setting is what the root of the king’s brutality and the passing of these traits develop. The fictional account tells of the king’s daughter being “…as blooming as his most florid fancies, and with a soul as fervent and imperious as his own. As unlikely as it seems the princess seems to create a bond with a young man that is of “lower station” than she. This short lived relationship of a few months was cut to an abrupt end by the Barbaric King. Never once does the story mention the princess make any attempt of arguing the innocence of her lover. This abandonment can only be explained by her savage nature. It says that she could have possibly never loved him in the first place, and that maybe she was just using him to fill a void her over protecting father created by sheltering her from finding a ompanion. With the slightest possibility that the arrogant and haughty princess had come to truly love this man then she would know for a fact that he would be safe of this cruel justice, because as the decision was left up to fate then there would be no question of what was coming out of the door. If she truly had any admiration for her lover, and trust of his innocence in his love then she would allow him to make his choice uncompromised by her instruction. She would allow him to open the door to the chamber with the “fair maiden”. But she did not.

With a slight notion to her right she indicates which door needed to be opened. Turning to face his fate the young man opened the door to his right leaving his destiny in the hands of the demented princess. Possibly scared of his innocence and fate’s compassion, considering the true love he possessed for her, she directed him to door with the lion. This is just a sadistic favor of disposing this inconvenience for her father. Once again if the princess did actually truly have feelings for him then she had proven to be very jealous of the lady behind the door.

While if she had not had those impulses toward him the animosity she had toward the damsel was strictly out of the hatred of the young girls lust over one of her possessions. Either way it was not left unknown that she had much discontent with her by saying, “Often had she seen, or imagined that she had seen, this fair creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were perceived, and even returned. With the princess in possession of the knowledge of the location of the tiger she had the power to control the future of both the young man and the young woman. The real or unreal passing of glances between the two would be the end of him, because the jealousy she had towards the maiden would cause an “If I can’t have you no one can” mentality. The princess couldn’t bear the thought of them being happy together so she sends him to the tiger.

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