What are some quotes from "The Most Dangerous Game" that illustrate man vs. self, man vs. man, and man vs. nature?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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"The Most Dangerous Game" contains various themes of conflict, and acts as a story about a man facing death, adversity, and struggle in the most primal ways. The barbarity of Zaroff is contrasted with the beautiful island and Rainsford's pragmatism. Here is one quote for each of the three queried conflicts:

Man versus Self:

Rainsford had fought his way through the bush for two hours. "I must keep my nerve. I must keep my nerve," he said through tight teeth.

Rainsford, forced into being hunted, is at first unsure how to act. He has always been used to hunting animals and can't figure out what to do at first. However, he admonishes himself not to lose his nerve; his final act demonstrates just how strong his nerve truly is.

Man versus Man:

"...let me congratulate you. Not many men know how to make a Malay mancatcher. Luckily for me I, too, have hunted in Malacca. You are proving interesting, Mr. Rainsford."

Rainsford and Zaroff are both accomplished hunters, and initially they have similar beliefs about natural law. Both believe that all living things are either hunters or prey, and so the strong are meant to survive. The are similar enough in their skills that Rainsford cannot shake Zaroff from his trail, and only  Rainsford's personal determination allows his victory.

Man versus Nature:

Dusk came, then darkness, and still he pressed on. The ground grew softer under his moccasins; the vegetation grew ranker, denser; insects bit him savagely.
(Connell, "The Most Dangerous Game," classicreader.com)

the island is well-suited for a hunting reserve; it has cliffs, swamps, and jungles. Rainsford is trapped inside the island's boundaries, but uses the thick jungle, the soft dirt of the swamp, and finally the dangerous cliffs all to his advantage. Rather than being constrained by nature, Rainsford embraces it as a tool of survival.


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