Q:

What is the irony in the short story "The Lady or the Tiger?"?

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Quick Answer

Elements of irony in the story "The Lady or the Tiger?" include that the story does not end and that the princess must choose the fate of her lover from two doors. Opening one, he meets a tiger. Opening the other, he wins a beautiful woman, and although the princess loves the man, she is jealous of the other woman.

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Full Answer

The image of the king is ironic because he is not the sophisticated person he seems, but rather someone who is semi-barbaric who chooses to punish his daughter in a cruel manner. Another ironic point is that the princess spends days deciding the fate of someone she supposedly loves.

The young man is in the arena facing the two doors because the princess illicitly loved him. It is the princess’s forbidden relationship with the man that might condemn him to death or marriage to someone she hates.

"The Lady, or the Tiger?" written by Frank Stockton in 1882, is unresolvable, and the reader decides how it ends. The story contains the elements irony, suspense and conflict. Stockton also wrote another allegory, “The Discourager of Hesitancy,” about a man who must die or select the correct maiden from 40 identical ones. As in “The Lady, or the Tiger?” it remains unresolved.

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