◆ The story is narrated in the third person addressing the readers directly. The story is set in the ancient times. It begins with the narrator introducing a semi-barbaric king, semi-barbaric because he has a civilized Latin influence on his life. However, he unleashes his barbaric side by exercising an unusual system of justice on his people when found guilty of any crime.
The accused is placed in an arena all by himself, which has two doors. The accused is faced with the task of choosing one of the doors which would lead him to freedom. The other, of course, would be sure death. The door that leads to freedom has a maiden sitting behind it, whom the accused would have to marry right away leaving no room for his opinion. Whereas, the other door has a ferocious, hungry tiger behind it. The doors are identical, and this is what gives the story a nail-biting finish.
◆ This system of justice enthralled the audience as the fate of the accused was in his own hands. They loved the experience of sitting at the edge of their chairs to witness the outcome―freedom or death.
◆ The story proceeds further with an interesting twist to it where the king’s daughter―the princess―falls in love with a commoner. When the king discovers this affair, he turns livid and summons his soldiers to arrest the commoner and put him behind bars. He calls for the game to begin. In the meanwhile, he sends out his soldiers to find the most ferocious and dangerous man-eating tiger to be put behind one of the doors. The softer side of him chooses one of the most beautiful maidens for the young man to be put behind the other door.
The princess being madly in love with her lover, plots to free him. She secretly, with power and money, finds the door to freedom and the maiden who would be sitting behind it. Unfortunately for her, the maiden is also in love with the commoner, and the princess detests her for that.
◆ Finally, on the day of the trial, she sits along with her father―the king―in the arena to witness the final outcome. As the accused lover is presented before the king, he looks up to her, and she signals with her right hand indicating that he should take the right door. As the young lover moves forward to open it, the narrator abruptly stops the story. Thus, leaving it to the readers to decide on the conclusion―Liberty or Doom.