Friday, 13 May 2016

The Tiger King, a Critical Analysis of the use of Irony

The Tiger King is meant to be a satirical comment on the foibles and weakness of the bureacracy that rules the nation. What Kalki is trying to do is to expose the hollowness and  false pride of those in power. To make this happen, the author employs the literary devices of dramatic, situational and literary irony. The first example of dramatic irony takes place when the Tiger King takes careful aim at the old tiger and pulls the trigger. The tiger falls down and the Tiger King thinks he has finally shot dead his hundredth tiger! The irony is that the bullet missed its mark, and that the tiger had fallen down out of shock on hearing the loud report of the gun. The incident proves that the Tiger King might not after all be a perfect marksman! He has his weakness, and is not invulnerable. The hunters notice this and then quietly dispose off the tiger without informing the king lest they should lose their jobs.

The second example of dramatic irony lies in the manner of the Tiger King's death. A splinter from a poorly made wooden tiger pricks his hand and it develops into a suppurating sore. Three famous surgeons from Madras are called and they decide to operate on him. When they come out of the operating theatre, they announce, "The operation was successful. The maharaja is dead." The manner in which the hundredth tiger took its revenge is ironical enough! The statement made by the surgeons after the operation is an example of literal irony indicating that the operation was meant to end the Maharaja's life! Was the state involved in some conspiracy to kill the Tiger King?

The above mentioned examples of irony constitute an indirect comment on the consequence of killing innocent animals just for the sake of fulfilling one's desires. Not even powerful people have the right to kill wild animals. The Tiger King is aware of this fact and so he uses "self defence," as an excuse to kill his first few tigers. Subjecting innocent animals to pain and suffering can have serious consequences as is reflected in the manner of the Maharaja's death. He was felled to death not by a mighty tiger, but by a wooden splinter! This is an anticlimax to the whole story and the hidden message is that one should beware of harming wildlife lest one might incur divine punishment!

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