Orwell explains how when the white man turns tyrant it is their own freedom they destroy.
Being the white man, Orwell says, they constantly must impress the natives and do what the natives expect of them. Thus Orwell must complete his role, what is expected of him, and do definite things.
Orwell uses other metaphors such as when he compares himself to being a magician about to perform a trick, or as being a lead actor in a piece, and even an absurd puppet, a posing dummy, and to be wearing a mask.
Holding the “magic rifle” the Burmans of course expected him to kill the elephant.
Against his will and moral belief he decides to kill the elephant.
Orwell uses the death of the elephant as another metaphor of British Imperialism in Burma.
There was the first Anglo-Burmese War in 1824, and then the second in 1852.
Finally the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885 was when the British finally took on total control of Burma.
George Orwell’s Shooting An Elephant is a great essay combining personal experience and political opinion.
The transitions he makes between narration and the actual story is so subtle the flow of the essay is easy to read.