“The Lady or the Tiger?”
Once upon a time, there lived a king who ruled a large city-state. He had a strong sense of justice and fairness on his terms. His kingdom knew a great amount of prosperity and success, and his subjects were loyal to him. They worked hard, enjoyed their lives, and believed that they were the luckiest people in the world.
Except for those found guilty of a serious crime—and there were laws. There was a system of justice especially designed by the king that was both violent and effective. No one wanted to risk the form of punishment. The system of choice was both outrageous and very convincing. The person charged with a crime would decide themselves whether or not they would live happily after or die an immediate and painful death. There was no alternative.
The king had built a large stadium where all of his subjects could gather and watch below. The inside of the stadium had large walls: an arena (a small circle or square space) with two large wooden doors at one end. Each had a small chamber room that contained one object. Behind one door was a fierce and vicious tiger. And behind the other door was a handsome young man or a beautiful young woman. The door on the left or the door on the right would be opened by the person charged with a crime.
Depending on what door they chose--that would be the answer. They would immediately be brought to a celebration to marry this person--or a tiger that would immediately tear them to pieces.
So a young man was now on trial for his life. He had dared to romance the king’s daughter, and she did love him dearly. But she had seen him with another woman—and she reported to her father that he had committed a serious crime. He was then put into the arena. He had done nothing wrong except a great risk in giving his love to the princess: the king’s daughter.
When the young man entered, he looked up at the seats and saw the princess. Only she knew which door was the right choice for him—and she carefully placed her right hand to her chin. He walked forward and opened that door.
Now, remember: she loved this man, but he had also deeply hurt her. But she did not want to lose him to another woman. But she did not want to see him torn to pieces either. She had grown up with this custom of punishment, and so had he. The choice was hers: the screams of the crowd’s celebrations or the screams of his agony and death. She knew that her father, the king, had established this form of justice. And as his only child, she would be expected to marry someone who would continue it.
The question for you to answer: in your view, which choice did she make for him? The Lady or the Tiger? Please explain why and how you came to that conclusion? Do you think the answer she chose was fair for herself? How about for her lover?