Rainsford and Zaroff are alike in being hunters. They are both wealthy enough to indulge themselves in the expensive sport of big game hunting. Both have extensive hunting experience, though the older Zaroff has more than Rainsford.
As the story opens, they both share a callousness about the game they hunt. As Rainsford asks: "Who cares how a jaguar feels?"
Despite these likenesses, the men differ. Rainsford, an American, appears to have a different moral compass than his host. Zaroff calls hims a "puritan" because of the distinction he makes between animals and humans. For Rainsford, hunting animals is sport while hunting humans is murder. Rainsford puts human beings above all animals, finding humans superior because of the human ability to reason.
In contrast, the Russian Zaroff does not make this sharp distinction. He considers the right kind of animal superior to the "wrong" kind of human. He tells Rainsford,
I hunt the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships—lassars, blacks,...
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