In the short story "The Most Dangerous Game," what are the terms of the game?  

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ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The terms of "The Most Dangerous Game" are get a three hour head start to do with as you please.  You also get a decent knife and some chow.  If you evade being "hunted" for three days (the hunter being the General who is armed with a pistol) you will be returned to the mainland, provided you promise not to say anything about the wicked games being played on the island.

"I suggest to one of them that we go hunting. I give him a supply of food and an excellent hunting knife. I give him three hours' start. I am to follow, armed only with a pistol of the smallest caliber and range. If my quarry eludes me for three whole days, he wins the game. If I find him "--the general smiled--" he loses."

What happens if the "gamer" refuses to participate in the game?:

"If he does not wish to hunt, I turn him over to Ivan. Ivan once had the honor of serving as official knouter to the Great White Czar, and he has his own ideas of sport. Invariably, Mr. Rainsford, invariably they choose the hunt."

A "knout" is a really big bad-a@@ whip.  It was used to inflict a great deal of pain and often resulted in death.  A "knouter" was the person who used the whip.

The terms are, of course, not particularly fair.  In fact, I think the general also cheats a bit.  He uses his dogs, for example, and brings Ivan along.  That seems to go against the spirit of things.

Of course, the good old General gets it in the end, so I suppose it is all good.

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The Most Dangerous Game

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