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Author Richard Connell does create a clever play on words in the double-meaning title of "The Most Dangerous Game." In one sense, the hunting of human beings is a new type of game--a contest--pitting the wily General Zaroff against a human prey. For Zaroff, it is a more challenging sport since the hunting of animals has become boring to him, no longer a challenge. This game is an exciting one, and the chance to stalk a renowned hunter such as Rainsford makes it irresistible to him. In another context, the game is the prey--the hunted. Zaroff has already killed every known big game available to him, but man is a different type of victim: The human quarry can think, reason, and feel the fear of death, and he presents a greater danger and the remote possibility of actually turning the tables on the hunter--as Rainsford does in the end.
A game is something that you play or compete in. You can play a board game, a sports game, and/or a video game. It's a contest of sorts, and that is one of the ways that the author uses the word "game" in this story. In a way, Rainsford and Zaroff are playing a game; however, their game is a rather sadistic and twisted game. Like most games, there will be a winner and a loser between Rainsford and Zaroff. In this case, the winner gets to live and the loser dies.
The other meaning of the word "game" is how a hunter would use the word. A hunter hunts game. In this use, the word game is synonymous with "prey." In the game that Zaroff is playing, Rainsford is Zaroff's game.
What's a great twist on the title is that the reader can assume the most dangerous game is the game that both men are playing because either could wind up dead. But the title of the story also means that the most dangerous game is always the prey being hunted, which is exactly what Zaroff learns right before he dies.
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