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The Lady or the Tiger by Frank Stockton

Teacher Guide by Rebecca Ray

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our High School ELA Category!

Student Activities for The Lady or the Tiger Include:

"The Lady or the Tiger" by Frank Stockton is a unique story to read with students. With an ambiguous ending, students get a chance to use their detective skills to decide the man's fate. Did the princess send her lover to his death, or did she swallow her jealousy and send him to another woman? Students also get to practice their creative writing skills by finishing the resolution; this often produces considerable insight to the type of students I have in my class. Will they kill the handsome young man? Spare him? Create a paradoxical surprise ending? The choice is up to the reader!

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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"The Lady or the Tiger" Summary

"The Lady or the Tiger" is a short story without resolution. Set in a kingdom ruled by a semi-barbaric king, the story centers around the king’s approach to justice. Any subject who commits a crime of sufficient interest is summoned to the royal arena where they choose their fate by picking between two doors. Behind one door is a fierce tiger that will eat the person alive, and behind the other door is a fair maiden to whom they will be married at once; the fate of the individual is determined by chance.

One day, the king finds out that his daughter has fallen in love with a brave, sincere young man. However, he is not of royal birth. Enraged by this, the king summons him to the arena to determine his fate. Meanwhile, the princess uses her guile and bribery to gain knowledge of the doors' arrangement and that the woman behind the one door has previously aroused jealousy in the princess. Knowing this information, the princess signals for her lover to open the door to the right. Then the story ends, and the author asks the readers to decide what fate the princess chose for her lover.


Essential Questions for "The Lady or the Tiger"

  1. Do you believe that you choose your own fate?
  2. Can you say with certainty what you would do when faced with a dilemma?

The Lady or the Tiger Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Plot Diagram | "The Lady or the Tiger" Summary


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A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a novel. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a novel with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



Example "The Lady or the Tiger" Plot Diagram

Exposition

In ancient times, a king uses poetic justice to decide if a person on trial is innocent or guilty. The accused is led to two doors, and they may choose either one as their fate. Behind one door is a ferocious tiger, behind the other a fair maiden to whom the person is married immediately.


Major Inciting Conflict

The daughter of the king falls in love with a handsome commoner. The king discovers this and the youth is sentenced to choose his fate.


Rising Action

The king chooses the worst beast in all the kingdom, and the fairest maiden to be behind the doors. The princess knows the maiden and has felt jealousy regarding to her lover. Through bribery, the princess learns which door contains the lady, and which the tiger.


Climax

The day arrives, and the handsome youth is in the arena. He looks to the princess, and she motions to the right.


Falling Action

The man goes to the door.


Resolution

The author leaves the reader not knowing what was behind the door. He asks the reader to consider the princess and her attributes, and to decide for ourselves.


Lady or the Tiger Plot Diagram

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of "The Lady or the Tiger".


  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.



Story Outline Storyboard Template

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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"The Lady or the Tiger" Vocabulary Lesson Plan


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Another great way to engage your students is through storyboards that use vocabulary from “The Lady or the Tiger”. Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the short story, and an example visual vocabulary board.


Example Vocabulary Words from “The Lady or the Tiger”

  • barbaric
  • florid
  • genial
  • anguish
  • devour
  • grievous
  • dire
  • moiety
  • parapet
  • idealism
  • kindle
  • trammel
  • wend
  • rhapsody

In the vocabulary board, students can choose between coming up with their own use of the vocabulary word, finding the specific example from the text, or depicting the definition without words.

Lady or the Tiger - Vocabulary

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in “The Lady or the Tiger” by creating visualizations.


  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



Vocabulary Template Blank

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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What a Dilemma!


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In “The Lady or the Tiger”, a dilemma is the major focus of the short story. A dilemma is a choice between two unfavorable outcomes. In this story, as in most literature, dilemmas form potent conflicts for characters to encounter.


The Dilemmas in “The Lady or the Tiger”


There are three main dilemmas in the story:


The first is for the accused person in the arena. Their dilemma is simply which door to choose. This is a dilemma because each door could have an unpleasant outcome; the person is either devoured by a tiger or married to a beautiful lady. This might not seem like a dilemma, but if the subject is already married, or has a family, this could be a huge problem.


The second dilemma is the princess’s choice. She possesses the knowledge of the doors, and she can give it to her lover. However, the woman that is waiting behind one of them she believed was exchanging glances with her lover. Not only that, but this woman rivals the princess in her beauty. Therefore, the princess can choose to let her love be with another woman or die by the tiger; a choice between jealousy and sorrow.


The last dilemma is for the reader. The author leaves the story without a definitive ending. Is it a story of lovers doomed to be apart, or a gruesome bloodbath?

Lady or The Tiger Dilemma

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that analyzes a dilemma that a character is facing in "The Lady or the Tiger".


  1. Identify the problem and depict it in the "Introduction" cell.
  2. Show and discuss the character's possible choices under "Problem 1" and "Problem 2".
  3. Save and submit the assignment.



Dilemma Template Grid

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Prefer a different language?

•   (English) The Lady or the Tiger   •   (Español) La Señora o el Tigre   •   (Français) La Dame ou le Tigre   •   (Deutsch) Die Dame Oder der Tiger   •   (Italiana) The Lady o la Tigre   •   (Nederlands) De Lady of the Tiger   •   (Português) A Senhora ou o Tigre   •   (עברית) הגברת או הנמר   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) السيدة أو النمر   •   (हिन्दी) स्त्री या बाघ