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What was General Zaroff's motivation to hunt men, and why did he continue to hunt...

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straitballin | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 22, 2007 at 2:13 PM via web

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What was General Zaroff's motivation to hunt men, and why did he continue to hunt them when he knew he was doing wrong?

Please help! =)

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cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted December 22, 2007 at 2:31 PM (Answer #1)

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General Zaroff had grown bored with hunting because animals as prey no longer challenged his skills. He tells Rainsford that he "lives to hunt" so he decided he needed a new prey. Man has one ability that animals do not--the ability to reason--and that quality makes man a more exciting prey.

When Rainsford understands this "most dangerous game" of Zaroff's, he is horrified and asks how the general can commit murder. Zaroff replies, "Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift?" This Cossack has no sense of morality, only a desire to please himself. Furthermore, he can do what he wants because his island is isolated, and no one ever escapes. Ironically, of course, he becomes taken by the strong when Rainsford defeats him in Zaroff's bedroom, an event the general had never anticipated.

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brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted December 22, 2007 at 10:47 PM (Answer #2)

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Simply put, General Zaroff became motivated to hunt men because he found hunting animals to be of no challenge to him anymore.  He desired more of a challenge, and to achieve the challenge he desired, he required a more intelligent "prey."  To him the only prey that equaled his skill as a hunter and provided him with the challenge he desired was man--the ultimate prey.  Rainsford, and, indeed, most human prey, presented him with more of a challenge because they possessed the ability to outwit, out think, and out maneuver him during the hunt; therefore offering him the ultimate hunting experience.  As to the question of why didn't Zaroff stop once he realized he was doing wrong, I don't believe that he ever came to that realization.  Upon looking carefully at Zaroff's character, you see a completely self absorbed individual, concerned only with the fulfillment of his own wants and needs, no matter the cost to anyone else.  Did he know what he was doing was wrong?  Obviously he did, otherwise he would not have gone to such pains to hide himself away on his island away from prying eyes.  Did he care?  Obviously not because, once again, his own needs took precedent over even human life. Hope this helps.

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soya | Teacher | eNoter

Posted January 31, 2008 at 12:33 PM (Answer #3)

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General Zaroff loses interest in hunting animals because they are no longer an adequate challenge.  The biggest dilemma for General Zaroff is that he doesn't think it is wrong to hunt humans.  He has had experience as a soldier under a brutal regime.  One could say it is only natural for him to take this leap.  Zaroff believe the world has only one rule "survival if the fittest." Those who have the power will make it.

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lsdangee | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 21, 2009 at 9:04 AM (Answer #4)

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Well, Think about it!  As humans, we tend to get bored with what were doing, easily.  Animals were too easy for him, and people seemed like a better deal.

PLUS, doesnt everyone do bad things, even though we know its wrong?? I mean, were HUMAN. our minds && Mouths lie, cheat, kill, and  smoke weed!  Theres nothing to do to stop it.

Some people have different conciences, and it takes more for them to feel like theyre doing wrong.

like in General Zaroff's case. (:

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taytay14 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 22, 2009 at 9:09 PM (Answer #5)

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he had no more interest in hunting animals because they were not a challenge. He chose to hunt humans because it would make it more of a challenge for him. He wanted a more intelligent prey and that was humans. He kept doing it even though he knew it was wrong because he had no common sense.

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