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General Zaroff is a confident man. Considerably wealthy to be able to hire a full-time bodyguard in Ivan, not to mention to build a chateau on a deserted island, Zaroff gets everything he wants. He can order in supplies from all over the world. He seems educated, and a well-versed hunter with the trophies to show his effort. Zaroff is described as calculating, but in a gentleman-like fashion. Perhaps this feature of his character is what makes the most dangerous game so shocking and horrifying to his audience. You wouldn't expect such a civilized man to engage in such a savage act as to take man's life for sport.
Zaroff is intelligent and longs for adventure. We see this as he almost captures Rainsford on the first day of their game, but refuses to make the capture for the sake of the game. He wants to keep playing. He preys on the rush of adrenaline he experiences.
In Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," General Zaroff is the antagonistic counterpart for the protagonist, Sanger Rainsford. Rainsford observes that Zaroff is handsome, tall, middle-aged, and has "the face of an aristocrat." After further investigation, Rainsford discovers that Zaroff is rich, an expert hunter, and hails from Ukraine. Zaroff's personality is primarily based on his philosophy towards life, which is stated in the following passage:
"Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and if need be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift? If I wish to hunt, why should I not? I hunt the scum of the earth--sailors from tramp ships--lascars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels--a thoroughbred horse or hand is worth more than a score of them."
Based on Zaroff's philosophy about life, he believes, and therefore behaves, as though he is above society's laws. Zaroff believes he should be able to kill whomever he wants because he has the skills, the knowledge, and the ability to do so. On the other hand, he doesn't kill women and children, just "the scum of the earth." Thus, Zaroff justifies his killing game because, in his mind, he rids the world of men who are not of any use to society.
One might say that Zaroff is a narcissistic elitist who believes he should be able to find pleasure at the expense of the weak. As a result, he plays a most dangerous hunting game that kills men rather than animals. Only a blood-thirsty psychopath comes up with such a cruel and inhuman game.
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