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The Most Dangerous Game

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Question: Discuss the characterizations of Rainsford and General Zaroff in “The Most Dangerous Game.” Which one is more fully characterized? Are both characters plausible? The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, the author portrays two distinctly alike men, who yet are very different. The two main characters, Sanger Rainsford and General Zaroff both have a strong passion for hunting. The first is Rainsford and he is, in all extensive purposes, the protagonist. The second, the antagonist, is General Zaroff. There is one other character, Ivan, but he really is simply, just a butler to the antagonist. While, the story does elude that Ivan could be a bigger character if the wrong choice is made. However when it comes to their values of the sport, they hold opposing views.

Sanger Rainsford is an adventurous big-game hunter who confronts the nature of life and death for the first time in his life during his few frightening days on Ship-Trap Island. He’s survived numerous near-death experiences, from fighting on the frontlines during World War I to hunting dangerous animals in some of the world’s most exotic locations. Rainsford’s wartime experience has reinforced his ultimate belief in the consideration of human life and the respect it deserves. He believes that killing is murder (Connell). He sets out on a hunt for wild animals, which he refers to as “the best sport in the world.” Rainsford was diligent and did not give up. he is a very resourceful and intelligent man, in that he knows that he needs to make an extensive trail so as maybe to lose the General (Connell). Rainsford was much focused. He was also cunning because he was able to construct traps to harm or kill General Zaroff. Unfortunately these didn’t work as well as he would have liked but they did kill Zaroff’s right-hand man Ivan and killed his best dog. One of these traps that Rainsfords knows how to make is a Malay Man-Catcher (Connell). He also knows how to make a Burmese tiger pit (Connell). The most startling part of Rainsford’s character comes at the end of the story we find that he has become that which he was completely opposite, the General. “He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided” (Connell).

Zaroff also shares the love of hunting but he enjoys hunting human beings the most. Zaroff has “fine clothes” (Connell), and the “singularly handsome features of an aristocrat” (Connell). Zaroff speaks very well, showing that he has been educated and refined. General Zaroff, can best be described as sadistic, arrogant, and manipulative, this keeps him at the focus of this story. The worst trait of Zaroff is his arrogance. He claims that he is superior to people of different races and feels it is his job to abolish the weak.. This idea is expressed when Zaroff says “Life is for the strong, and, if need be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasue; I hunt the scum of the earth” (Connell). This shows that Zaroff not only acts arrogantly, but also sadistically. His demented mind forces him to believe that it is moral to hunt all living creatures, when in fact; he’s actually committing murder. General Zaroff considers his hobby of hunting other humans amusing. Another strong trait is his ability to manipulate people, the General pretends to be civilized and generous thus, people start to trust Zaroff, but as soon as his victims feel comfortable around him, he forces them to play his “game”. This usually ends up in the death of his poor captive.

The different views of the sport is what makes a diffierence in who survies and who is defeated in “The Most Dangerous Game”. Even though the characters have some of the same looks on big game hunting, their personality are what sets them apart. General Zarroff whom is arrogant and cocky. The other, Sanger Rainsford, whom is a World War I veterian knows the real meaning and values of life. Just because people enjoy the sport of hunting doesn’t mean they all have the same meaning and outlook on the sport.

Work Cited

Connell, Richard Edward. “The Most Dangerous Game.” 28 August 2012 <http://fiction.eserver.org/short/the_most_dangerous_game.html>.

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