“The Lady, or the Tiger?” is a short story by Frank Stockton first published in the magazine The Century in 1882. The humorous tale is short and depicts an ancient kingdom with a bizarre form of justice. Stockton’s story was immediately popular and has since been translated into many languages. It is a story that presents an unsolvable ending, which broke from traditional storytelling at the time of its publication. A classic of American literature, this humorous story provides a metaphoric lens into our own lives, our jealousies, and our sense of justice.


Read our full plot summary of “The Lady, or the Tiger?”


See a complete list of the characters in “The Lady, or the Tiger?” and in-depth analyses of the king, and the princess.

Literary Devices

Here's where you will find analysis of the key literary devices in “The Lady, or the Tiger?”


Find the quotes from “The Lady, or the Tiger?” you need to support your essay or refresh your memory.

Deeper Study

Enhance your understanding of “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by learning more about Frank R. Stockton and historical and literary context for the story.