The story is a satire on the conceit of those in power. The king is
known to be an extremely conceited person right from the beginning. As a
ten-day-old infant, he pronounced the words, “Let tigers beware!” By
challenging the astrologer’s prediction, he also challenges his death.
Moreover, killing seventy tigers within a period of ten years and
bringing the entire species close to extinction, marrying for the
convenience of killing more tigers, exercising his authority to punish
or tax people according to his whims and fancies, flaunting his power
and richness in sending about fifty rings to the British officer’s lady
or paying a bill of three lakh rupees, having a temper that would make
other people lose their job or even life etc., are all part of this
conceit. He does nothing for the sake of his people in the capacity of a
king. All this has been highlighted in the story using humor, irony
Death is an inevitable phenomenon associated to life itself.
Challenging death on the basis of prediction by astrologers is as good
as a wasted effort. Even after the monumental task of killing
ninety-nine tigers, the hundredth tiger escaped being shot by the king’s
gun. Unaware of this, he dies merely because of a “tiny little wooden
tiger” and not by any ferocious living creature like tiger. Thus, the
dramatic irony surfaces strongly at the end of the story when the
readers realise what the king never does.