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In the beloved short story “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling, a brave mongoose named Rikki-Tikki-Tavi faces off against a venomous cobra named Nagaina. This essay will compare and contrast the battle between Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Nagaina, examining their motivations, strategies, and outcomes. Through this analysis, we will gain insight into the contrasting characteristics of the two adversaries and the thematic significance of their confrontation.


Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’s motivation stems from his protective instinct towards his adoptive human family. He is driven by a sense of loyalty and duty to keep them safe from the threat of the cobras. On the other hand, Nagaina’s motivation revolves around safeguarding her eggs and ensuring the survival of her offspring. While Rikki-Tikki-Tavi fights for the greater good, Nagaina’s motivation is rooted in her maternal instinct.


Rikki-Tikki-Tavi employs a combination of intelligence, agility, and courage in his battle against Nagaina. He uses his sharp teeth, quick reflexes, and knowledge of the mongoose’s natural abilities to outmaneuver and defeat the cobra. In contrast, Nagaina relies on her venomous fangs and the element of surprise. She attempts to strike fear in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by threatening his human family and using her cunning to hide and launch surprise attacks.

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Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is portrayed as a heroic and determined protagonist. He is depicted as a sly and resourceful mongoose who displays bravery and quick thinking in the face of danger. His unwavering determination to protect his loved ones sets him apart as a courageous and honorable character. Nagaina, on the other hand, is depicted as a cunning and ruthless antagonist. She is driven by her desire for power and control, willing to go to great lengths to protect her eggs and ensure the survival of her offspring.


The battle between Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Nagaina symbolizes the struggle between good and evil, highlighting the triumph of righteousness over malice. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi represents courage, loyalty, and justice, while Nagaina embodies treachery, greed, and the destructive forces of darkness. The clash between these two characters serves as a metaphorical battle between positive and negative forces within the story.


In the final confrontation, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi manages to outwit and defeat Nagaina. With his agility and cleverness, he gains the upper hand and delivers a fatal blow to the cobra, eliminating the threat she poses to his human family. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’s victory symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and underscores the power of determination and bravery.


The battle between Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Nagaina in Rudyard Kipling’s “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” is a captivating clash between two contrasting characters. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi represents bravery, loyalty, and justice, while Nagaina embodies cunning, greed, and darkness. Through their motivations, strategies, and outcomes, we witness the stark differences between the two adversaries. The symbolic nature of their battle highlights universal themes such as the struggle between good and evil. The story of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi serves as a timeless reminder of the power of courage, determination, and righteousness in the face of adversity.

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