Compare And Contrast Rainsford And Zaroff

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handbooktoliterature | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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Rainsford and Zaroff share a few common traits, but as the story works toward its climax, they differ more and more.

In common, Rainsford and Zaroff both have an immense interest in the sport of hunting. Rainsford waxes poetically to his shipmate in the opening scenes about the skill and pleasure of the hunt. He shows excitement for his chance to go prove himself against a new query on the trip. In an obvious foreshadow, his shipmate ask him to consider how the jaguar (or animal being hunted) fells, and Rainsford laughs it off without empathy.

Zaroff also shows an extreme interest in hunting from the beginning. He is an expert and loves the hunt. Like Rainsford, he seems to have the wealth and time to partake in his hobby to an extreme degree. Not everyone could charter boats to exotic places to hunt a variety of game. 

The big difference between the men comes between PASSION and FANATICISM. Rainsford passion makes him devote much of his life to hunting and leads to his position in the story. However Zaroff's obsession is much more to the extreme end. He is so fanatical that he becomes less human in his sympathy and empathy for others. He no longer values life in any means because his "game" of hunting the toughest query overrides all else.

Rainsford, experiencing the side of the hunted gains sympathy for the animals he has tracked and killed in his past and sees an ugliness in the extremism Zaroff represents.