This story came out in 1882, and it REALLY upset a lot of people--partially because of the insinuation (the cause-and-effect) that the author, Frank R. Stockton, was hinting at regarding human nature. We ARE a violent species, you know--but we are ALSO a very enlightened and spiritual creature too--at times. This also takes into account the same lessons that have been spoken of for SO many centuries: when we stop wanting everything OUR way, we may find happiness. I said we MAY find happiness. Some people can't stop wanting it THEIR way for happiness fulfilled as you may have noted in the short story on this site, "The Necklace."
So: just as the man said in the end of the story, "Who came out? The lady or the tiger?" Please explain to me in paragraph format (oh, I'd say four) your answer--and please use references or direct quotes (sentences) from the story to back up your point. By the way, if you have any need for research, look up the name "Medea" and see what she did when things didn't go her way. You may also look up the phrase "Hell knoweth no fury...." Meanwhile: "Knock-knock, who's there?" I hope your choice is the right one. Your life--or the person you are sponsoring in this "contest"--depends on it.
In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the progressiveness of distant neighbors, were still large, florid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and, when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done. When every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial; but, whenever there was a little hitch, and some of his orbs got out of their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight and crush down uneven places.
Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined and cultured. But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself. The arena of the king was built, not to give the people an opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of dying gladiators, nor to enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conflict between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the people. This vast amphitheater, with its encircling galleries, its mysterious vaults, and its unseen passages, was an agent of poetic justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded, by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance.
Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady ?
But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair, when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door of the lady! How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen him rush to meet that woman, with her flushing cheek and sparkling eye of triumph; when she had seen him lead her forth, his whole frame kindled with the joy of recovered life; when she had heard the glad shouts from the multitude, and the wild ringing of the happy bells; when she had seen the priest, with his joyous followers, advance to the couple, and make them man and wife before her very eyes; and when she had seen them walk away together upon their path of flowers, followed by the tremendous shouts of the hilarious multitude, in which her one despairing shriek was lost and drowned!