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THE LADY OR THE TIGER

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by

Michael Haight

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of THE LADY OR THE TIGER

THE LADY OR THE TIGER?
"THE LADY OR THE TIGER?" by Frank Stockton
BACKGROUND
Gist:
A barbaric king has an arena built to publicly punish criminals.
In the arena the criminal has a choice between two doors that will decide their fate.
Behind one door lays a tiger which will kill the criminal.
Behind the other door lays a bride that the criminal will marry.
The king finds out that his daughter has been secretly seeing a common man, so he decides to put the man in the arena like other criminals.
The princess knows what is behind each of the doors, so she points the man (her lover) to one of the doors.
The author leaves the reader hanging by not concluding the story. He asks at the end,
"The Lady or the tiger?"

What is irony?
Irony is the contrast between what the expectations of a situation are and what is really the case.
Why is this short story ironic?
The princess is the one who loses in the situation.
Trent Lorcher, a teacher writing on an online blog comments, "The ironic structure of the story--it has no end, for example--highlights the irony present in the story: the princess and not the criminal is the story's true loser."
One would think that because the princess's lover is the one in the arena, he loses. At least he has a possible positive outcome. Either way the princess loses here man.

IRONY
This picture is ironic because you would think that someone posing for Colgate toothpaste would have beautiful teeth, but in this case the lady does not have teeth at all!
CHARACTERIZATION
The king is labeled as semi-barbaric in the story meaning that he is somewhat insane. This characteristic is shown when he has the arena built only to punish or reward criminals publically. He likes the surprise factor of giving the subjects a choice of their fate.
SYMBOLISM
DOORS=FATE
Although the subjects get to choose which door they want, fate still decides what is behind the door that the subject chose.Fate represents the doors because either way, what is behind the door will be determined by the subject’s fate.
WHAT DOES IT ALL SHOW?
By now we all know that Frank Stockton uses irony, characterization, and symbolism in this short story but what does it all show?
He uses these lit-devices to show that
choices
can impact a culture or an individual greatly.

For irony, the princess's
choice
, which is unknown in the story, will ultimately change the life of not only herself, but of the man.

For characterization the royals being semi- barbaric causes both the king and the princess to make certain
choices
that could possibly cause a different outcome to the story.

For symbolism, the doors will be the deciding factor of what happens to the criminal. The doors symbolize the
choice
of fate and whether or not the criminal lives or dies.
The princess is also labeled as semi-baric in the story because she is the daughter of the semi-barbaric king. She inherited the characteristic from her father. Her craziness is not bluntly stated in the story, but it can be inferred by whichever door the reader thinks she pointed her lover too.
WORK CITED
Lorcher, Trent. “Literary Elements in "The Lady or the Tiger" by Frank Stockton.” Bright Hub Education. Bright Hub Inc., 17 Jan 2012. Web. 18 Nov 2013. <http://www.brighthubeducation.com/high-school-english-lessons/68949-the-lady-or-the-tiger-literary-elements/>.
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