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Discuss the characterizations of Rainsford and General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous...

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hardclassgirl | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 29, 2009 at 11:34 AM via web

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Discuss the characterizations of Rainsford and General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game".

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sesmith5 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 7, 2009 at 10:42 AM (Answer #1)

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Rainsford is a man secure in his veneer of civilization, though there are chips in this veneer as seen by his initial conversation with Whitney in which he is unable to sympathize with the plight of the jaguar as prey.  He is offended when Zaroff offers to include him as a hunter in his "Game."  However, it doesn't take too much experience as prey for Rainsford to discard civilization in favor of savagery.  He murders Zaroff and Ivan in the end.  Zaroff, on the other hand, is a man who is comfortable in his savagery.  He is surprised that Rainsford could have gone through a World War and still have any regard for human life.  He believes that he is vindicated in his hunting because he only hunts the "dregs of society"--sailors and such.  Thus we can say that Rainsford is a dynamic character--he changes from civilized to savage.  He is also a round character, he has a multifaceted personality.  Zaroff, on the other hand, has only one dominant character trait--savagery.  Thus he is a flat character.  He also does not change his viewpoint over the course of the story so he is static (unchanging) as well.

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jae2013 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 10, 2010 at 9:30 AM (Answer #2)

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Rainsford is a man secure in his veneer of civilization, though there are chips in this veneer as seen by his initial conversation with Whitney in which he is unable to sympathize with the plight of the jaguar as prey.  He is offended when Zaroff offers to include him as a hunter in his "Game."  However, it doesn't take too much experience as prey for Rainsford to discard civilization in favor of savagery.  He murders Zaroff and Ivan in the end.  Zaroff, on the other hand, is a man who is comfortable in his savagery.  He is surprised that Rainsford could have gone through a World War and still have any regard for human life.  He believes that he is vindicated in his hunting because he only hunts the "dregs of society"--sailors and such.  Thus we can say that Rainsford is a dynamic character--he changes from civilized to savage.  He is also a round character, he has a multifaceted personality.  Zaroff, on the other hand, has only one dominant character trait--savagery.  Thus he is a flat character.  He also does not change his viewpoint over the course of the story so he is static (unchanging) as well.

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