The Lady, the Tiger, and the Hollywood Ending

The Lady, the Tiger, and the Hollywood Ending

I once read “The Lady, or the Tiger?” for a class, and we were asked to ponder the possibilities. A king’s daughter is caught with her common-class lover, and as punishment he is thrown into an arena with two doors. Behind one door is a lady, and behind the other is a tiger; whichever door he opens is his fate. Meanwhile, the king’s daughter takes steps to find out which door will hide the lady and which will hide the tiger, and on her lover’s fateful day in the arena, she signals to him to choose the door on the right.

Given the background, the character motivations, and the circumstances, how do you think the story ends?

Well, the teacher had each of us write our own ending to the tale, and as indecisive as I was, I couldn’t bear to choose either one. The lady, or the tiger? About half the class picked the first while the other half picked the second, and they all wrote eloquently on the whys and wherefores of the choice they made.

Myself, I was racked with indecision. I didn’t like either ending, and I simply couldn’t justify choosing one over the other. Both endings were too sad, and I was of the mind that a tale that ended sadly was an unsatisfying one. Had I been the king’s daughter, I would have called in sick and avoided the event at the arena altogether.

But that wasn’t part of the assignment. The assignment was to write about what awaited the lover when he opened the door on the right. So I wrote.

In my ending, the door holds neither the lady nor the tiger. In fact, there is nothing and no one at all behind the door. Upon seeing this, the crowd looks accusingly at the king’s daughter, knowing that only she could be behind such sabotage, and with the audience distracted, the lover escapes through the open door and disappears. When his absence is discovered, the people are outraged. They send some men into the arena to go after the lover, all to no avail. Meanwhile, in the confusion of the chase, the king’s daughter also makes her exit. In fact, she and her lover later escape the city and live happily ever after.

The ending was completely atypical in the class, and my teacher loved it. He might have thought that I was thinking outside the box or being completely creative and original, but the truth is that I’m incapable of making a decision, and I will do almost anything to avoid having to make such a tough choice. To this day, I still cannot decide between the lady or the tiger. Every now and then I come back to this story and re-evaluate my response; I try to choose one or the other, and I can’t. I simply can’t.

As the narrator would say, “The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered, and it is not for me to presume to set myself up as the one person able to answer it. And so I leave it with all of you: Which came out of the opened door,–the lady, or the tiger?”

Oh, to be decisive! May I pick door number three instead?

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41 thoughts on “The Lady, the Tiger, and the Hollywood Ending

  1. He opted for Door #3 and was rewarded with valuable cash prizes.

    However, one of the prizes was a 2000 Ford Explorer. Owing to the faulty suspension problems of that model, he was advised to lower the tire pressure to compensate for the Firestone Tires he had neglected to exchange.

    This was fine for a while until he went to fill his tires at a gas station. Not knowing that 90% of air compressors are off by an average of 5lbs, he over-inflated the tires inadvertently.

    While driving down a highway at too high a rate of speed for the construction lane, his driver’s side rear tire blew out causing him to spin out and hit an escaped tiger. Yes, the very one sent to kill and eat him. [You didn’t think the king would let him leave with a new SUV, did you?]

    The accident killed the tiger, totalled the vehicle and damaged his kidneys. While on life support, the doctors set out a plea on the local television station for anyone willing to donate a kidney to him.

    Naturally the king’s daughter agreed, and rushed to the hospital.

    She was too late however; her lover was dead. An angry mob from PETA pulled the plug on him as vengeance for him killing an endangereed species.

    —THE END.

  2. I’d say: the tiger. But it wasn’t really the tiger. It was actually the Princess wearing a kitschy tiger costume. Since it was declared that whatever came out of the door would be his fate, the Princess was his.

    "And they lived happily ever after."

  3. I too had to read that story. I, to this day, do not like stories with sad endings. (I refuse to have anything to do with them.)

    What if she had one of her maidens wear her outfit and signal to the lover. It was actually the princess hiding behind the door.

    Her father, being a typical king, is too busy to notice and sends them away to live in a cottage on a hill.

    The maiden never says a word, and lives out her life happily, as the princess.

    I’m such a closet romantic. Shh, don’t tell anyone. 😉

  4. Dave, you truly are a twisted man… LOL. Your ending is probably the most interesting, unpredictable one I’ve ever read. ;-D

    Minnie and GeekGrrl, what kindred spirits! I guess women have the market on sappy, romantic third endings after all. Those endings fit very nicely with mine.

  5. "…but the truth is that I’m incapable of making a decision, and I will do almost anything to avoid having to make such a tough choice."0

    Your hopeless romantic heart touches my hopeless romantic and gives hope to all romantics.

    As for smart Dave, he is probably a hopeless romantic too.

    ps. well done Minnie! (not a sap)

  6. First of all i really rate the person who designed this website. The reason i found myself here was that my teacher gave me an assignment on giving a speech infromt of my class on wether the girl actually chose the "lady or the tiger" I am seriously stuck and cannot choose between the 2, can u please give me points or arguments on who u think the girl would of chosen, plz, thanks for ur help, remeber post up who u think was chosen

  7. Hi James…

    If I absolutely had to choose between the two, hmm… my head says that she would have chosen the tiger, and here’s why:

    Our notions of love and romance do not apply to that day and age. We have idealized a loving relationship to be all about sharing, sacrifice and unselfish giving, etc, etc. We forget that the word "love" in another day and age often referred more to a physical love than anything — i.e., sex or "lovemaking".

    So the girl "loved" him with an ardor. Perhaps that only means they had wild passionate sex with each other. That doesn’t necessarily mean she would ever sacrifice her own well-being for him, or vice versa. She knew deep down that they could never marry, so perhaps he was only her plaything. Perhaps his death would in the end mean very little to her, whatever happened.

    But what if she did feel something for him? Wouldn’t she be jealous of him having the lady? If she was mean-spirited enough to start a relationship she knew she couldn’t have for real, in public, and without guilt, then wouldn’t she be the type to get jealous over something like his marrying a beautiful lady, perhaps a lady more beautiful than herself?

    Considering that day and age? I would think so.

    And yet… she went through the trouble of finding out where the lady and the tiger would be hidden. A sign that she cares? Perhaps. Or perhaps it was merely a morbid curiousity that motivated her. She is, after all, the sort that carries on affairs that would result in disastrous consequences if they were ever found out. Passion drives her, so perhaps she likes to take risks; perhaps she likes living on the edge… which leads to yet another "perhaps"…

    Perhaps she’d prefer the excitement of a conflict between her lover and the tiger — a spectacle for all to see. After all, there’s not much action to be expected if he opens the door to find the lady, right?

    It’s a cynical way of looking at things, sure, but it’s also realistic. The notion of love didn’t really get fully developed until the birth of chivalry, and even then it was kind of twisted; you were encouraged to "love" your liege lord’s wife and not necessarily your own. Your own wife was for procreating; other women were fair game in bed.

    If you think in those terms, the answer seems pretty clear.

    Still, my having said all that… no one will ever know for sure, since women are quite fickle and unpredictable anyway, in love or out of it.

    So,… just flip a coin and argue as best you can.

  8. Thanks for that April

    I must say that your ideas and arguments are very good and should go a treat to my speech i have to give in-fromt f my class mates. Thank you very much for all those points and for giving ur time in order to help me, i am really greatful, James…

  9. Personally, i don’t think that the short story waz that gr8 because, i hate novels that end in a cliff hanger. But come to think about it, the way the author wrote it waz VERY creative.
    Oh, and by the way i think itz the tiger that came out because being semi-barbaric she probably chose what was best for her and not the man.

  10. Personally, i don’t think that the short story waz that gr8 because, i hate novels that end in a cliff hanger. But come to think about it, the way the author wrote it waz VERY creative.
    Oh, and by the way i think itz the tiger that came out because being semi-barbaric she probably chose what was best for her and not the man.

  11. Personally, i think that the story wasn’t that great because i don’t lyk storied that end in cliff hangers, but come to think about it the author waz very creative wen he wrote this story.

    Oh, and by the way, i think it waz the tiger because being semi’barbaric she prob chose wat waz best 4 her and not her lover

  12. Hey! I can’t believe how many ppl have the same assignment! I’m from India. Geekgrl! I think exactly like you! I thought of exactly the same ending. i wanted to be original. Now I feel like I’ve stolen an idea damn it!
    Very creative April! Hats off to you!

  13. Hey! I can’t believe how many ppl have the same assignment! I’m from India. Geekgrl! I think exactly like you! I thought of exactly the same ending. i wanted to be original. Now I feel like I’ve stolen an idea damn it!
    Very creative April! Hats off to you!

  14. I got the same assignment…
    accept we have to write it as the authour, Frank R. Stockton, would hav wrote it….harder methinks

  15. I got the same assignment…
    accept we have to write it as the authour, Frank R. Stockton, would hav wrote it….harder methinks

  16. omg.. how many people have the SAME assignment?! wow.. seems like teachers really like to give this as a topic to write about. our teacher read this story to us for drama class, and we had to write up an ending. i agree with everyone.. but i still can’t decie. my teacher said he read the story in seventh grade, and to this day he still can’t decide whether the princess would allow the prince to open the door with the maiden or the tiger. i can’t decide either. i guess it’s just a story that hangs there.. lets you think a lot, don’t you think? 😛

  17. omg.. how many people have the SAME assignment?! wow.. seems like teachers really like to give this as a topic to write about. our teacher read this story to us for drama class, and we had to write up an ending. i agree with everyone.. but i still can’t decie. my teacher said he read the story in seventh grade, and to this day he still can’t decide whether the princess would allow the prince to open the door with the maiden or the tiger. i can’t decide either. i guess it’s just a story that hangs there.. makes you think a lot, don’t you think? 😛

  18. When the lover wentt to open the door to the right he was surprised that upon it lay a beautiful women whome he would mary both the princess and the gentelmen had a plan though it was that even though they would mary othere people they would still secretly love eachother for the rest of their lifes and let nothing come between them!

  19. When the lover wentt to open the door to the right he was surprised that upon it lay a beautiful women whome he would mary both the princess and the gentelmen had a plan though it was that even though they would mary othere people they would still secretly love eachother for the rest of their lifes and let nothing come between them!

  20. It is the lady who came out of the door. You don’t need to believe me. I’m just holding proofs to say that.

  21. I believe that the princess is every Barbaric and selfish.
    Maybe she does not tell the boy what door the tiger is in. So maybe what happens is he picks the door with the woman in it and is forced to marry the women right away. And the princess lives out her life with out him. That is what I think could happen but really we will never know.

  22. I believe that the princess is every Barbaric and selfish.
    Maybe she does not tell the boy what door the tiger is in. So maybe what happens is he picks the door with the woman in it and is forced to marry the women right away. And the princess lives out her life with out him. That is what I think could happen but really we will never know.

  23. I believe that the princess is every Barbaric and selfish.
    Maybe she does not tell the boy what door the tiger is in. So maybe what happens is he picks the door with the woman in it and is forced to marry the women right away. And the princess lives out her life with out him. That is what I think could happen but really we will never know.

  24. I believe that the princess is every Barbaric and selfish.
    Maybe she does not tell the boy what door the tiger is in. So maybe what happens is he picks the door with the woman in it and is forced to marry the women right away. And the princess lives out her life with out him. That is what I think could happen but really we will never know.

  25. I believe that the princess is every Barbaric and selfish.
    Maybe she does not tell the boy what door the tiger is in. So maybe what happens is he picks the door with the woman in it and is forced to marry the women right away. And the princess lives out her life with out him. That is what I think could happen but really we will never know.

  26. I believe that the princess is every Barbaric and selfish.
    Maybe she does not tell the boy what door the tiger is in. So maybe what happens is he picks the door with the woman in it and is forced to marry the women right away. And the princess lives out her life with out him. That is what I think could happen but really we will never know. I’m only 12 years old so i guess other people have better perdictions than me!

  27. Hi there thanx a lot for helping me out getting my essay thanks a lot for (Aoril) u’r argument is great .

  28. Hi there thanx a lot for helping me out getting my essay thanks a lot for (Aoril) u’r argument is great .

  29. Hi there thanx a lot for helping me out getting my essay thanks a lot for (Aoril) u’r argument is great .

  30. Hi there thanx a lot for helping me out getting my essay thanks a lot for (Aoril) u’r argument is great .

  31. Hi there thanx a lot for helping me out getting my essay thanks a lot for (Aoril) u’r argument is great .

  32. Hi there thanx a lot for helping me out getting my essay thanks a lot for (Aoril) u’r argument is great .

  33. I think that he will pick the door with the tiger because the princess will think to herself and would say "IF I CANT HAVE HIM NOBODY WILL"

    Thank You
    Thank You
    Beautiful endig is it not?

  34. according to the story, the princess would probaly choose the right door—a tiger! the princess was a daughter of a semi-barbaric king and she’s jealous. in her opinions, she prefered her lover to be eaten rather than to be taken by another lady.

  35. My class has the assignment of picking which was behind the door on the right, but my friend says there is a sequel. Could you notify me if there is. Oh, and this would be my ending.

    He was in shock as he noticed there was a lovely young lady behind the door. He glanced back to his lover as tears streamed her cheeks. He turned back and looked to the ground and bit down on his lip, running to the wall, he began climbling. Guards ran down to the arena and began throwing whatever they could find, at him. He wouldn’t give up, he was destined to love this woman. She was his fate, not some stranger, or death by tiger. He made it, slowly but surely, up the wall. He looked to her with glee, and she him. She jumped from her seat and ran into his arms, them escaping the arena unharmed. The fleed to a far off town, never to be seen again.

    e_e; Anywho….Tell me what you think. -shrugs- Baaiii!

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