British Imperialism In Rudyard Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King

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Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King was written in 1888 and is an allegory of the British Imperialism in India during the 1800’s. Kipling lived during this time and there are parallels between his story and elements British imperialism in India such as conquering with advanced technology, making alliances with previous rulers, and exploiting the land for resources. Granted that the British didn’t leave India until the 1950’s, Kipling didn’t see the movement end, yet he had an opinion that he expressed in his work. Kipling’s opinion of British imperialism, that is inefficient and immoral, is seen in his novella through satire; for example, he portrays the British as two foolish men who face misfortune after they form their kingdom, which they are only able to rule after the people see them as gods. Compared to other allegorical satires, this is an extremity that wouldn’t be present unless the author had a strong criticism against it.…show more content…
Dravot and Peachy set off on their adventure disguised as “a poor mad priest and his servant”( Kipling). As an allegory, Dravot and Peachy represent the British, as they are going to conquer new and strange lands. These two are fools; they don’t have a good plan for conquering Kafirstan and their motivation is that their government doesn’t let them govern themselves. The unnamed narrator, who is a representation of Kipling, leaves the pair believing “they would find death”( Kipling). If Kipling believed that British imperialism was noble and bold, then he would have portrayed the adventurers as brave and selfless heroes, who go to this land to spread British culture, instead the two main characters are selfish lunatics. Kipling sets up Dravot and Peachey’s journey as childish and futile; this is a form of satire, a criticism against an idea using
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