External Conflict In The Most Dangerous Game

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

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An external conflict is a conflict that a person has with forces outside himself.  In “The Most Dangerous Game” Rainsford has conflicts with General Zaroff, the jungle, and Ivan.

First of all, there are two main character vs. character conflicts in the story.  The first is with General Zaroff.  Zaroff is the sadistic game hunter who haunts ship-trap island, taking men and using them for hunting practice.  Rainsford falls off his boat and has to swim to the island, where he goes to Zaroff’s house and Zaroff insists that he stay—and join the hunt, as the prey.

“I'll wager you'll forget your notions when you go hunting with me. You've a genuine new thrill in store for you, Mr. Rainsford."

Rainsford’s other character vs. character conflict is with Ivan, Zaroff’s mute henchman.  Rainsford has to choose whether to hunt with Zaroff as prey, or take his chances with Ivan, a giant who is “an incredibly strong fellow” who is a bit of a savage and enjoys whipping people to death.  When Rainsford balks at the idea of being the prey with Zaroff, he is offered a choice.

"As you wish, my friend," he said. "The choice rests entirely with you. But may I not venture to suggest that you will find my idea of sport more diverting than Ivan's?"

 Ivan is certainly a cruel man, practiced at causing pain for fun.  Rainsford chooses to be the prey.

The third external conflict is character vs. nature when Rainsford has to fight his way first through the water when he falls in, and then through the jungle.  Rainsford has to use his knowledge of hunting to cover his tracks and evade Zaroff.

Dense jungle came down to the very edge of the cliffs. What perils that tangle of trees and underbrush might hold for him…. he was safe from his enemy, the sea...

The jungle is dense and the island is difficult to maneuver, but Rainsford manages to beat Zaroff and then kill him.

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