Study Guide

The Jungle Book Betrayal

By Rudyard Kipling

Betrayal

You may have already read all the stuff we had to say about principles elsewhere in this section.

But if you have, well, then you can go ahead and scratch that. Unless you're Shere Khan, of course, in which case please keep your claws to yourself, mister.

See, not all the animals have principles in The Jungle Book. In fact, there's often a betrayal that happens in each of the short stories. The Lion King may have the Circle of Life, but The Jungle Book has a cycle of betrayal and revenge, so be careful whom you trust.

Questions About Betrayal

  1. How does the Wolf Pack betray Mowgli? Does he forgive them? Does Mowgli betray them?
  2. Does the village of man betray Mowgli in the same way? Does Mowgli betray the men, like Buldeo the hunter? Do they deserve it?
  3. Why don't the seals want to follow Kotick after he works so hard to find them a safe beach? Does he consider this a betrayal?
  4. Does Toomai betray Kala Nag by telling Petersen Sahib the location of the Elephant Dance? Why or why not? To dig deeper, read up on the Elephant Dance in the "Symbols" section.

Chew on This

Mowgli wouldn't rejoin the wolves if they begged him, because their betrayal in kicking him out is too great to forgive.

On the opposite side of things, even though the seals laugh at Kotick when he basically saves all their lives, he continues to try to save them instead of going away on his own.