Summary Of Kipling's Short Story 'Mark Of The Beast'

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Kipling starts his short story “The Mark of the Beast” with an Indian native proverb that inquires which Gods of two opponents would be the stronger one. The tension evoked here is visible throughout the whole narrative, creating a rather spooky, mysterious atmosphere. Set in India during British Empire the tale tells the story of Fleete, a British landowner, who in a drunk state pollutes a temple statue of the Hindu god Hanuman; an act that provokes the resentment of the natives and even leads to physical violence on the part of a leprosy sickened, referred to as Silver Man. After this encounter, and physical contact with the Silver Man Fleete slowly transforms into a wolf. The process is however ceased by his friend Strickland and another…show more content…
As the junior professor of cultural and post-colonial studies, Elahe Haschemi Yekani observes during her researches on Kipling and India, the colonizer often consider themselves as “ 'natural ' authorities who can [..] teach the natives” (112) of an occupied country. This might explain from where Strickland and the narrator derive their power to torture the Silver Man to get the information they need. Even though the British men are ashamed of their action that “disgraced [themselves] as Englishmen forever” (Kipling 306), the mere fact that they claim the right to put themselves above others and to act like the punishing executor underlines Yekani 's assertion and Kipling 's ambiguous attitude. On the surface “The Mark of the Beast” can be read as a horrifying tale of a guy turning into a beast, but under beneath Kipling 's narrative functions as criticism on the British rule in India. The colonizers do not understand the country they live in; they cannot identify with the people and their religious customs, and by isolating themselves from the Indians they create a gulf between both countries enforces by the hierarchical power
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