General Zaroff is an educated and cultivated man. Do you think his education served its true purpose? Why or why not?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Yes, general Zaroff is portrayed as an educated and sophisticated man. Sangar Rainsfield observes this right off the bat. Here is what the text says:

"Not in the least," declared Rainsford. He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite. But there was one small trait of .the general's that made Rainsford uncomfortable. Whenever he looked up from his plate he found the general studying him, appraising him narrowly.

"Perhaps," said General Zaroff, "you were surprised that I recognized your name. You see, I read all books on hunting published in English, French, and Russian. I have but one passion in my life, Mr. Rains. ford, and it is the hunt."

Now as for the question of whether the general used his education well, it is clear that the general was a mad man. So, his education was not used well. The general used his knowledge of hunting and whatever else he learned to hunt not animals but humans. He used his knowledge to satisfy his deeply distorted passions. He found hunting animals boring. The word, he used was: "ennui."  In short, the general used his education to murder people in cold blood. So, his education did not serve its true purpose. Rainsford actually became his victim, but fortunately the general failed. 

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