Criticism In Kipling's The 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 companion who kidnap the Silver Man and torture him until he touches Fleete and thus, seems to break the curse. Since the narrator of the story happens to be the British companion of…show more content…
Battles mainly focusses on the depiction of the characters, and assumes that a lack of cultural framework is one of Kipling 's major point of criticism on Empire. “[N]atives and English stare at each other across gulfs of miscomprehension” (Battles 341). Strickland and his companion do not understand the happenings. For them, “the affair was beyond any human and rational experience” (Kipling 301). They have their suspicions but are afraid to say it out loud, as it would not correspond to their ideologies. The British men try to solve the problem on their own way, which is torturing the Silver Man; they do not even consider asking the temple people for help or doing some research on the myth surrounding Fleete, disregarding other possible solutions. They live in a foreign culture and thus, “lack the cultural framework within which they are situated” (Battles 341) –
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