In Saki’s story, Mrs Packletide’s Tiger, we see how one character’s disloyalty to another proves the crux root of the plot. Set mostly in Colonial India, the author has successfully ridiculed the pretentious nature of the upper classes of the Victorian society. Saki has drawn the satire so well that we are encouraged ingeniously to dislike Mrs. Packletide who endeavours to shoot a tiger in order to outdo her rival Loona Bimberton. The satirical tone employed throughout the story enables us to applaud her reward or we may say punishment, at the hands of her paid companion, Miss Mebbin.
Mrs. Packletide is a shallow, vain and pretentious woman. Most of her activities are dictated by her emotions of jealousy, ill-will and bitterness against Loona Bimberton – her arch rival. She is overpowered with absolute jealousy and driven by her competitive nature and craze for publicity. This hypocrite goes out of her way to plan her strategy to show Loona Bimberton down. As wealthy as she was, Mrs. Packletide was able to carry out her whimsical endeavour of shooting a tiger. However, she makes the villagers look for an old and feeble tiger to make her task easy and risk-free. She even stoops down to bribe the villagers to look for such an old, infirm and incapacitated tiger who would get killed without any fuss. After the hunt, she shamelessly lets the press give her ample coverage despite knowing the fact that she had actually killed the goat. She humiliates Loona Bimberton by purposely sending her a tiger-claw brooch on her birthday. Apart from being shallow and greedy, she is also very silly not only because she wasted away her wealth to realize her ridiculous pursuits, but also because she got manipulated into paying a large amount of money to Miss Mebbin whose only intentions were to blackmail her.
Miss Louisa Mebbin was Mrs. Packletide’s so called companion, who can be best described as opportunistic and money-minded. She is a very cunning, manipulative, calculative, stingy and money-minded person. She could go to the extent of depriving the hotel waiters of tips to save her money. Not only that, she didn’t wish to put in even an iota of extra work than she was paid for while giving her services. This shrewd woman had a good understanding of human psychology too. She succeeded in extorting six hundred and eighty pounds from Mrs. Packletide to buy herself a week-end cottage. She knew the actual story behind the death of the tiger which she used as a threat against Mrs. Packletide. This was enough to twist Mrs. Packletide’s arm and make her cough up a large amount of money as the price for keeping her mouth shut. The author sarcastically describes her stinginess by saying she has an ‘elder-sister attitude towards money in general’.
Loona Bimberton isn’t very different from Mrs. Packletide when it comes to being vain. She had been recently carried by an Algerian Aviator for eleven miles and she had a harvest of press photographs. She was as jealous in nature as Mrs. Packletide. She declined the invitation to the luncheon Mrs. Packletide had thrown in her ‘honour’ and refused to look at a single newspaper for weeks for the fear of reading about her rival’s feats. Thus in conclusion, we can say that Loona Bimberton, like her rival, is a shallow and an envious individual.
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