In The Most Dangerous Game, General Zaroff mentions that he and Ivan are Cossacks. Why is this cultural note about these two character important to the story?  

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Richard Connell's short story, The Most Dangerous Game, the antagonist, General Zaroff, mentions to Rainsford (the protagonist who he is going to force into a gave of cat-and-mouse) that both he and his servant, Ivan, are Cossacks.

"Ivan is an incredibly strong fellow," remarked the general, "but he has the misfortune to be deaf and dumb. A simple fellow, but, I'm afraid, like all his race, a bit of a savage."

"Is he Russian?"

"He is a Cossack," said the general, and his smile showed red lips and pointed teeth. "So am I."

This is important to the story based upon the fact that General Zaroff is, in essence, providing an excuse for his behavior.

General Zaroff mentions that Ivan is a savage. After mentioning that Ivan is a Cossack, General Zaroff states that he is as well. What this does is provide some insight into what General Zaroff is: a savage. Only savages would consider hunting humans.

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