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There is also the element of "no way out." Since Rainsford was "stuck" on a relatively small island out in the middle of nowhere (somewhere in the Carribbean), he could run around in circles to escape Zaroff's clutches but never really escape. The jagged coral reefs which had ripped ships apart ("helped" by a fake lighthouse, too) also hemmed him in. Even so, where was he to he go? The remoteness of the island made it impossible to escape.
Also, the jungle environment lends itself well to the leit motif of survival of the fittest. In a purely Darwinist way, Rainsford matches both brawn and wits and wins over Zaroff. He sets various traps from his know-how gleaned through years of experience in big game hunting. Here, already, the roles are beginning to be exchanged.
It is interesting to note that Rainsford doubles back to confront Zaroff off guard "on his own turf." This castle is no humble abode but reeks with pure Gothic elements. There is a sharp contrast between luxury and violence, civilization and barbarism. For example, while Zaroff and his guest drink champagne, the walls around them display Zaroff's trophies, the decapitated heads of big game animals he has hunted on various continents. With a madman such as Zaroff, who knows? Perhaps Rainsford's head (and I had this gruesome thought when reading the first time) might be next....
In all these ways the setting lends itself well to the suspense (and mood) of the story.
The setting of "The Most Dangerous Game" is very important to the suspense of the story. The story begins with "Sanger Rainsford, while aboard a yacht cruising in the Caribbean." He falls overboard and begins to swim toward Ship-Trap Island. Even the name of the island gives the story a sense of suspense. " We see that the island is a place of true Gothic terror. In the "bleak darkness" he comes upon a "palatial chateau" with "pointed towers plunging upwards into the gloom." The mansion is "set on a high bluff and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows.'' There is a "tall spiked'' gate at the front of the house, and a large door "with a leering gargoyle for a knocker." This is the typical haunted house, with an evil madman lurking inside, as well as dark secrets and a brutish henchman." When Rainsford finds Zaroff's house it is a mystery as to why this house is in this particular setting. Once the hunt begins the jungle makes the mystery more intense. Will Rainsford escape? Will Zaroff kill him. When I read this story I can actually feel the dampness, the bugs, the heat and the fear. This is a great setting for a mystery.
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