The Jungle Book Characters
The main characters in The Jungle Book include Mowgli, Kotick, and Rikki-tikki-tavi.
- Mowgli is a courageous young boy who is raised in the jungle by the Wolf Pack and learns the Law of the Jungle from Baloo the bear. After killing the tiger Shere Khan, he decides to become a solitary hunter.
- Kotick is a white fur seal who is determined to lead the other seals to an uninhabited beach where they will be safe from human hunters.
- Rikki-tikki-tavi is a brave mongoose who protects a human family by defeating the cobras Nag and Nagaina.
Mowgli, the central character in “Mowgli's Brothers,” “Kaa's Hunting,” and “Tiger! Tiger!,” is found by the wolves when he is a very young child, barely old enough to walk. He is raised by the wolves and learns the Law of the Jungle from Baloo the bear. After ten or eleven years in the jungle, Mowgli returns to the village and spends a few months learning to be a man. However, by the end of his story, he has decided that he is neither man nor wolf, but a lone hunter.
Mowgli is quick-witted and strong-willed. He is extremely forthright and often contemptuous of those he considers less courageous and intelligent. He is an outstanding though unruly pupil in learning the Law of the Jungle but is ultimately unwilling to obey any rules except those he approves for himself (though these include the paramount Law of the Jungle). His peculiar upbringing seems to have made it impossible for him to live in any society, animal or human, so he ends up as a lone hunter, though the reader is told that he will marry one day.
Father Wolf finds Mowgli, defends him from Shere Khan, and teaches him how to live as a wolf. He has few characteristics beyond his bravery and his kindness to Mowgli.
Mother Wolf is initially curious to see a man cub. Once she takes Mowgli into her cave, she is impressed by his strength and assertiveness, and quickly decides to raise him with her own cubs. She is utterly fearless and ferocious in standing up to Shere Khan on Mowgli’s behalf and prophesies that Mowgli will one day kill the tiger, a prediction which comes true.
Gray Brother is the eldest of Mother Wolf’s cubs. He is loyal to Mowgli, following him twenty miles to the village and helping him to start the cattle stampede which kills Shere Khan.
Akela is the leader of the Wolf Pack. He is strong, brave, and principled, and protects Mowgli from Shere Khan. However, as he grows older, he loses control of the Wolf Pack and grows increasingly disgusted with the cowardly and dishonorable conduct of the younger wolves.
Shere Khan is a tiger and, therefore, one of the most powerful animals in the jungle. However, he is lame and cannot make the sort of kills that befit his status, so he resorts to attacking cattle, and even men, which is against the Law of the Jungle. Shere Khan gains some respect from the younger wolves and the jackal, Tabaqui, because he is a tiger, but he is not particularly brave, and Mowgli regards him contemptuously as an easy adversary to defeat.
Bagheera is a proud and beautiful panther. He buys Mowgli’s life by giving the Wolf Pack a bull he has killed, and he probably has more affection for Mowgli than any other animal except Mother Wolf. Mowgli returns his love and treats him with more respect than anyone else. Bagheera is one of the most powerful creatures in the jungle. As a panther, his status is similar to that of Shere Khan, but he has all the dignity, intelligence, and courage which the tiger so conspicuously lacks.
Baloo is a wise old bear who teaches the wolf-cubs the law of the jungle. He loves Mowgli and is happy to have such an intelligent pupil, but relations between the two are strained by Mowgli’s disobedience and Baloo’s harsh response.
Kaa is a fearsome python. He is thirty feet long, and all the other animals are frightened of him. He possesses mystical powers of hypnosis, which affect...
(The entire section is 1,301 words.)