The Lady or the Tiger

Recent studies show that it is natural for women to be deceitful in order to provide their children with a perceived advantage. The princess is described “as blooming as [the king’s] most florid fancies, and with a soul as fervent and imperious as his own”. The words fervent and imperious lead the reader to assume the princess is passionate, i. e. irrational, and that she assumes authority without justification. These are great qualities for a king, but perhaps not so much for a lover. The young man is “handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all [the] kingdom”, meaning he is the alpha male.

It is understandable that the princess would wish to produce offspring with the top physical male specimen, because she is young and in her most fertile state. It is the evolutionary goal of all women to couple with the male who will give their offspring the best chance of survival. Professor David Perrett, the head of the laboratory at St Andrews University has performed research that shows women are attracted to masculine-looking men “because… the strongest, healthiest children would be produced. # His research also finds that it is natural for a woman to be unfaithful in order to secure both the best genes and the best carer for her children.

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The love affair “between the young man and the princess moved on happily for many months, until one day the king happened to discover its existence. ” It is unclear how this happened, but very likely due to contraceptive technologies of the time, and the reference to “many months” that the princess became pregnant, as it only takes a few months to notice the physical changes to a pregnant woman’s physique.

The young man is removed from the princess, and it is certain that they will never be together again. Allowing her the young man to couple with another women would produce offspring very likely so succeed in life, a strong mix of manliness and class status, who would pose as a threat to her own children and the authority of her mate to succeed her father as ruler. This is a zero-sum game, where one person succeeds at the cost of the other.