Is there a resolution in "The Most Dangerous Game," or does Rainsford experience an epiphany with no real end to the conflict? Support the answer with details from the story.

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bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I believe there is a definite resolution to Richard Connell's short story, "The Most Dangerous Game." It comes when Rainsford returns to Zaroff's bedroom and begins a new hunt--one that will fulfill the revenge that Rainsford has apparently decided to seek. The denouement is described in the final sentence:

He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.

Whether Rainsford has an epiphany about Zaroff's style of hunt is another story. Rainsford's decision to hunt and kill Zaroff is nothing short of murder, since Zaroff had already declared Rainsford the winner of the hunt. Although Zaroff was himself a murderer, he was also an honorable man, and there is no reason to believe that he would not have lived up to his promises. Rainsford would have been safe to remain in Zaroff's home, but he chose to continue playing Zaroff's game--this time eliminating his foe. Rainsford's contentment at the end appears to come from more than just the comfortable bed; he seems satisfied with Zaroff's death and, perhaps, even with being the hunter of human prey.

sciftw's profile pic

sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Yes, I do think that "The Most Dangerous Game" has a resolution. In a standard plot chart, the latter half of it would be climax, falling action, and resolution. I've seen equal support for the climax being the part when Rainsford jumps off of the cliff or the part when he confronts Zaroff in the bedroom. In both cases, the resolution of the story remains the same. The resolution is that Zaroff is dead, Rainsford is alive, and Rainsford sleeps really well in Zaroff's bed.

He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.

I feel that the above resolution is a clear resolution. The external, man vs. man conflict has been resolved. Rainsford no longer needs to fear for his life. What isn't so cleanly resolved is what Rainsford does when he wakes up. Does Rainsford safely return home, or does he become the new Zaroff? I like to think that it is the former because Rainsford is quite adamant that Zaroff is morally corrupt.

"Hunting? Great Guns, General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder."

I don't believe that Rainsford has some kind of epiphany that allows him to believe in and support Zaroff's actions. I think Rainsford sleeps well because he is relieved his fight is over, not because he found the final kill enjoyable.


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