The Man Who Would Be King

Corrupt Colonialism in "The Man Who Would Be King" College

The nineteenth century was a period of great colonial expansion for the British Empire. It was during this period of time that Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous novella “The Man Who Would Be King.” It tells the story of two British explorers in India who decide to travel to Kafiristan, a remote part of Afghanistan, and become kings. Although many approved of the expansion of the empire and the colonizing of many natives in the Eastern parts of the world, people did not always agree with the methods and motivations behind the actions of explorers and colonizers. This story is a clear criticism from Kipling on the ills of the British colonialism occurring in India during this time, specifically the immorality of the motivations and methods of the imperialization, as well as a commentary on the problems created by the individual moral character of the men who would be kings.

Kipling, as a consequence of the time in which he lived, held many of the same beliefs as most of the Westerners that they were superior to those of the other countries and territories that they had visited and imperialized. However, in “The Man Who Would Be King” we can see that he did not always agree with their methods nor the consequences of these actions....

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