What is the moral or lesson to "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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There can be more than one moral or lesson in “The Most Dangerous Game” because it is a story with many themes.  One moral is that you should never underestimate your opponent.  Both Rainsford and Zaroff fall victim to doing this, and they both pay the price.

Rainsford finds himself stranded on an island, and he meets the strange inhabitant.  When he first meets General Zaroff, he does not realize that the man is thinking of hunting him.  He enters his house, has a meal with him, and has a conversation with him before realizing that he is in danger. 

Rainsford scoffs at his hose, and Zaroff responds.

The general shrugged his shoulders and delicately ate a hothouse grape. "As you wish, my friend," he said. "The choice rests entirely with you. But may I not venture to suggest that you will find my idea of sport more diverting than Ivan's?"

Rainsford is shocked when he realizes that Zaroff plans to hunt him.  He did not really consider what Zaroff was capable of.  Now he has to play his dangerous game.  Rainsford finds himself Zaroff’s prey because he did not stop to consider what kind of person Zaroff was.  He underestimated his opponent and paid the price.


Now, how does General Zaroff underestimate Rainsford?


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