ADVANTAGES

In more recent examples, in Richard Connell's short story, "The Most Dangerous Game," the reader is in suspense regarding whether or not the hero or the villainous hunter will survive as the two face off in a final battle. In Hamlet, much of the suspense arises from the protagonist's continuing procrastination--will he or won't he take up the task of killing his uncle? The more Hamlet delays, the more bodies pile up until the final climactic scene in which swordfights, poison, and invading foreign army all collide on stage practically simultaneously. Other authors might frustrate the reader's desires deliberately, as in Frank Stockton's "The Lady or the Tiger," in which a somewhat sadistic narrator describes a thought-provoking scenario. In this scenario, a young man is to be put to death. He is locked in an arena with two adjourning gates, and his young lover must decide his fate. This jealous young girl must choose whether to open a gate releasing a starving tiger into the arena from one gate, or instead open a second gate that would release a beautiful girl into the arena with him, a sexual competitor for the young man's attentions. The narrator describes at length why she might open one gate or the other, either saving her lover but throwing him in the arms of another woman, or killing her lover but blocking the advances of her rival. In the final lines, however, the narrator declares he is not a position to know what happened "historically," and thus leaves it to the reader to determine, "which came out of the open door--the lady, or the tiger?"

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