Compare and contrast Rainsford and General Zaroff in regards to their beliefs.

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literaturenerd's profile pic

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

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In Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game," Rainsford and Zaroff possess similar ideologies regarding hunting, but differ in one main way.

Rainsford and Zaroff both have a passion for hunting. Both look at hunting as "the best sport in the world." Both Rainsford and Zaroff have also been educated in the sport of hunting (as seen in their common understanding of traps used in the sport--like the Malay mancatcher and the Burmese tiger pit). In the end, both Rainsford and Zaroff will go to whatever means they must to win the hunt.

The greatest difference seen between Rainsford and Zaroff is their understanding of hunting and murder. While Zaroff tries to justify his "hunting" of man,

("But they are men," said Rainsford hotly.

"Precisely," said the general. "That is why I use them. It gives me pleasure. They can reason, after a fashion. So they are dangerous."),

Rainsford disagrees vehemently by stating: "Thank you, I'm a hunter, not a murderer."

 

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It occurs to me that any man who likes to hunt human beings ought to become a policeman or a private detective. No doubt Zaroff could become an official detective immediately without rising through the ranks. He has had plenty of experience and seems extremely well educated. There are always lot of human beings to be hunted, and some of them could easily qualify as "the most dangerous game" because they are serial killers and armed robbers. Zaroff could turn his criminal activity into socially useful work. The same might be said of Rainsford, if he is at all interested in having a useful career. There must be many police detectives who get a satisfaction out of pursuing and occasionally killing criminals and who enjoy the danger connected with their occupation. These men carry handguns and have access to all sorts of other weaponry if they need it. Zaroff does not really seem to be hunting dangerous game except for Rainsford, who is dangerous because of his experience. Most of Zaroff's victims are hapless, frightened castaways who stand little chance of escaping and no chance at all of killing their pursuer. Sherlock Holmes is a good example of an admirable character who enjoys the thrill of the chase and accepts the danger that sometimes goes with it.

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