Rudyard Kipling’s story, “TheMan Who Would Be King” Describes British Imperialism. Kipling’s story isabout two men who have traveled from India to Karifistan in Afghanistan, thesemen have dreams of becoming kings of Karifistan and being free.
Throughout thestory there are references towards Kipling’s feelings in relation to the BritishEmpire, regardless of the positivity that the British Empire may bring to acountry that it conquers. It is clear that Kipling isn’t pleased with theconduct of the British Empire. Kipling expresses his feelings towards theBritish Empire in this story by using parallels and metaphors.Kipling uses specific wording to reference the BritishEmpire in his story. The two men, Dravot and Carnehan are exaggerated personasrepresenting aspects of the British Empire. Kipling shows how he feels aboutbeing facing the British empire when both Carnehan and Dravot are with him inhis office, Kipling stated, “I was not pleased, because I wished to go to sleep”Kipling assumed that these men were just beggars and didn’t want to be involvedin their pursuits.
In addition to the discomfort of the confrontation, Dravotand Carnehan expressed that they had been many places and done many things.Dravot and Carnehan lacked the connections and skillsets they needed to pursuetheir “idiotic adventure” of becoming kings. Dravot and Carnehan were facingKipling and proclaiming that they needed his help because they were meant to bekings, just as the British Empire who would take over land and announce itselfas the new leader. It was clear that as being beggars, Dravot and Carnehan hadno legal foundation to declare themselves kings in a foreign land. Kiplingshows that Dravot and Carnehan have intentions to foce themselves into ruling acountry for no clear reason other than they want to, just as the British Empirewould have done. The British Empire was a constant force and constantly growingand would conquer more land once they had feasted and they were hungry again,Carnehan and Dravot stated that “India wasn’t big enough”. They had alreadydone as much as they could in the country and moved on to strive for more.
TheBritish Empire had accomplished what it could in its homeland and once that hadbeen accomplished decided to extend its branches to other countries. Who was tosay that sustaining themselves internally was all that they could handle.Essentially the British Empire bit off more than it could chew and led to itforeseeable demise. Dravot and Carnehan were simply beggars and had aspirationsto be kings, which was very outlandish and easily seen as an objective which wasn’tmeant for them. Kipling expresses how the British Empire sought more and morewith all of its focus being glued on the want for more, but never paying anyattention to the creating a viable foundation to support these extensions tothe Empire. Kipling references the British Empire in anothercircumstance in, “The Man Who Would Be King.” Dravot was brutallymurdered and Carnehan returned to Kipling, and told him the details of whatexactly had happened. Dravot’s withered head was displayed on Kipling’s desk.
Carnehan’stale wasn’t limited to the death of Dravot, it continued to what had takenplace after his death. Evident of the shrunken head of Dravot, Carnehan wasclearly able to sustain the Empire him and Dravot had created for some time. WhileCarnehan and Dravot had left, the British Empire had equally shrunken in size,they had lost control of lots of land that they were once able to proudly callpart of their Empire. Kipling is voicing his discontent with the British Empirein this scenario by showing how easily the British Empire had lost control ofsomething that had taken all of its efforts to achieve, which was lost due tobeing incapable to provide proportional efforts to sustain them.Throughout the entirety of the story, Kipling makes use of allegoricaldialect and metaphorical references to express his dismay for the BritishEmpire through the story of Dravot and Carnehan. Kipling states that hebelieves that the British Empire selfishly seeks to only improve itself in thequote, “But the Empires and the Kings continue to divert themselves as selfishlyas before.
“. The British Empire deceives its people into believing that theyare working to improve itself in a matter that will benefit all, however in theprocess it was solely beneficial for the Empire, those within it sufferedduring its expeditions and afterwards. It is clear that Kipling believes thatthe British Empire states that is conquering land in order to help them ismerely a smoke and mirror tactic that even fools the citizens. While it wasexpanding it was only plotting to spread itself thinner and thinner whilebarely sustaining what it had covered until it couldn’t sustain anyone anymoreand those that it was helping were left in a worse state than they were priorto being under British rule. The story of Dravot and Carnehan is told in a derogatorytone with undeniable parallels to the British Empire, Kipling is able toexpress his feelings of the British Empire without directly referencing them asingle time