The British Lion Analysis

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Similarly, after the massacre of Cawnpore, Punch issued a very powerful and emotional cartoon depicting the ‘British lion’ vengefully jumping at the ‘Bengal tiger’ after it has attacked a woman and child.1 Mukherjee explains that, [t]he bodies of the British acquired certain dignities in India that were predestined by birth and by the colour of their skin. This was the condition of their domination, of their superiority: rulers and ruled were arranged hierarchically as superior and inferior races, as civilized and uncivilized. And this superiority manifested itself by denying to the Indians a "humanness"; by treating them and conceiving of them as animals. (93) Associating Britain with a lion – commonly represented at the king of the jungle – serves to assert the might of metropolis, as well as its bravery and strength; by opposition, the tiger is debased for attacking defenceless people, and its beastly cruelty is underlined. In this sense, the cartoon symbolically…show more content…
The fight between Britain and the sepoys is recreated as having consequences for the future of both factions as well as the rest of the world; victory is therefore even more urgent to secure, and praiseworthy once achieved. Moreover, the sepoys are described as ‘hell-hounds’ whereas the British have their ‘lips locked’ too tightly to be able to utter ‘curses’ – either swear words or maledictions against their enemies. While the Devil is thus associated with the former, the latter do not appeal to him to avenge them; the Britons stay true to God, respect him, and rely on his divine help to carry out their revenge themselves. Fremont-Barnes notes
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