Both internal and external conflict are involved in the fate of the young man in Frank R. Stockton's famous short story "The Lady or the Tiger." The external conflict is with the king, and the internal conflict concerns the decision of the king's daughter.Continue Reading
The external conflict experienced by the unnamed young man is due to the king's disapproval of his love affair with the princess who is far above his station. As punishment, the king puts the young man in an arena where there are two doors. Behind one is a ravenously hungry tiger, and behind the other is a lovely maiden who the young man would immediately wed after choosing the door. The king, the court and people from all over the kingdom gather to see the outcome of the young man's choice.
The internal conflict concerns the princess who discovers what is behind each door. She has the choice to either allow her lover to die at the teeth and claws of the ferocious beast or save his life but lose him to another woman. She knows that the woman behind the door is one of the loveliest ladies of the court, and she dreads the thought of watching her lover become married to her on the spot.
The young man looks to the princess for direction, and the princess points to a door. He walks confidently forward, but both the external and internal conflicts remain unresolved, as the author does not reveal what comes out of the chosen door.Learn more about Classics