Who is the real tiger in "The Tiger in the Tunnel"? Is it the tiger or Baldeo?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the tiger is the real tiger in "The Tiger in the Tunnel."

A case could be made that as Baldeo approaches his adversary, he might display some qualities that resemble those of a tiger. Upon entering the top of the cutting, Baldeo walks as cautiously as a knowledgeable predator. Like the tiger, he is very confident of his ability to face down wild animals in the jungle. Baldeo "prided himself in his skill" in using his axe. With a kill list that includes a young boar, Baldeo believes he is a talented hunter.

However, when Baldeo encounters the tiger, it is clear that he, Baldeo, is the hunted. Baldeo is no match for the tiger, who has "preyed" on the men in the jungle for years. The tiger is a "great brute." At the moment of confrontation, his quick and focused movements cannot be avoided. "Flight was useless" for Baldeo, a description that proves his inability to "out-tiger" the tiger.

Baldeo puts up a good fight. He is able to land an agonizing wound on the tiger. However, the real tiger in the story is the tiger himself. He is the one who successfully hunts down Baldeo, "bringing him down and tearing at his broken body."