Do you think General Zaroff would have allowed Rainsford to live without being hunted? Give evidence from the story to support your answer.If rainford had hunted other men with General Zaroff, do...

Do you think General Zaroff would have allowed Rainsford to live without being hunted? Give evidence from the story to support your answer.

If rainford had hunted other men with General Zaroff, do you think General Zaroff would have allowed Rainsford to live without being hunted? Give evidence from the story to support your answer.

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e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a question that I ponder everytime I read this story. The general claims to be a man of honor, but what reason do we have to believe him? He is a mad man. He is a murderer. Yes, he has ways of justifying his act but, ultimately, he is a deranged and immoral man. What's to stop him from breaking a promise whose only force comes from honor?

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There's not a lot of characterization either way. However you could argue that Zarroff might have been feeling Rainsford out to see if he'd agree, and might have used him as a friend and hunting partner if he'd liked the idea of hunting people. On the other hand, you could argue that Rainsford was too good a catch to pass up, since he had hunting skills.
auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There's no way Zaroff can let Rainsford live once he knows about Zaroff's hunting of humans.  It may be that Zaroff might have kept that particular piece of information to himself if he'd wanted to hunt with Rainsford.  The General is a very clever man, and as soon as he knows who Rainsford is--a world-class hunter--he makes his choice to hunt for rather than hunt with. With that in mind, Zaroff has chosen a fight to the death, for he knows Rainsford will fight to keep his life.  And that's the challenge he's been looking for from his other human prey.

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jlcannad | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I think General Zaroff wouldn't have settled for anything less than the hunt.  After all, he tells Rainsford that "No thrill left in tigers, no real danger. I live for danger, Mr. Rainsford."  Clearly, he wants the biggest, most dangerous game in the world.  Yes, humans in general are more dangerous than the Cape buffalo Zaroff took down, but Rainsford is more dangerous than other men. Since Zaroff craves danger, I think he would have eventually given in to the urge to test himself against Rainsford.

parkerlee's profile pic

parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

This is a purely hypothetical question you could argue either way:

Yes:  General Zaroff estimed Rainsford even before he met him and probably considered him his equal if not superior. He had read his book on hunting snow leopards, so Rainsford probably had earned a certain notoriety that even General Zaroff couldn't claim. Hunting was the common passion of both men, and Zaroff enjoyed the feeling of complicity just by being in Rainsford's company. This would have appealed to his pride by giving him a certain prestige and exclusiveness. He also would have had Rainsford's moral endorsement about what he was doing.

No:  General Zaroff was a loner by nature and extremely territorial; he had even bought a whole island just to play "king." There would have never been any place for someone else in his life he considered on equal terms. He would have been threatened by Rainsford and would have felt the compulsion to kill him just to prove his superiority. Moreover, his "game" had no real rules based on fair play, confirmed when he brought along his henchman Ivan and then his dogs to track down Rainsford.

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