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The reader is to assume that Rainsford kills General Zaroff. At the end of the story when Zaroff enters his sleeping chambers and finds Rainsford, he congratulates Rainsford and tells him that he has won the game. Rainsford, however, informs Zaroff that the game is not over, that he "is still a beast at bay." General Zaroff does not seem surprised, in fact, he is delighted that Rainsford is still up for a challenge. Zaroff tells Rainsford that "One of [them] is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed." The last line of the story is "He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided." This lets the reader know that Rainsford has killed General Zaroff.
One possible ending is that Rainsford decides to take Zaroff's place and continue hunting his newfound quarry. Another ending could be that the good in Rainsford keeps him from continuing Zaroff's sadistic game, and he releases the prisoners and finds a way off the island.
"The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell was published in 1924. Greatly anthologized, and the author's most famous work, the short story features as its protagonist a big game hunter from New York, who falls off a yacht and swims to an isolated island in the Caribbeans, the setting of the story, and then is hunted by a Russian aristocrat.
The story explores the opposite of the big-game hunting safaris in Africa that were popular among wealthy Americans in the 1920s.
The story pits Sanger Rainsford, an accomplished and experienced hunter from New York, as the prey, against General Zaroff, a Russian aristocrat.
The eventual ending of the story is only alluded to as Rainsford makes the remark, "He had never slept in a better bed." This implies that Rainsford had somehow either killed Zarof or gotten rid of him in any number of ways. That is what makes the story so much more mysterious.
If he didn't kill Zaroff, and had simply won the fight, maybe he would have slept in a "good bed." But after all, he is one of the most accomplished hunters, and if he had killed Zaroff, it would make sense that he would sleep in a "better bed," for he had done what no other prey has done, outwit its hunter.
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