What elements of foreshadowing can be seen in "The Most Dangerous Game?"

3 Answers

elocutus55's profile pic

elocutus55 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

The Most Dangerous Game places two characters, Mr. Rainsford and General Zaroff in opposition over the ideas and ideals of hunting. In the beginning of the story an ominous outcome is foreshadowed when Rainsford and his friend, Whitney, hear a gunshot off their boat as they are travelling to a hunt. The deep blackness of the night foreshadows the gloom and doom about to occur. The conflict between Whitney and Rainsford foreshadows the same sort of conversation which Rainsford will have with Zaroff only hours from then. Rainsford's insensitivity to the plight of animals that he hunts foreshadows the same opinion Zaroff has about hunting humans.

On the island, the house is a gloomy and imposing one inspiring thoughts of gothic horror stories. The very house itself becomes symbolic of the coldness of hunting for mere sport and the nature of both Rainsford and Zaroff, though Rainsford's degree of insensitivity is not quite as developed as that of Zaroff. The darkness of the house mirrors a darkness in the heart of Zaroff and predict his hunting of his guest. Ivan's speechlessness also foreshadows the "silent scream" of the horror of the past dead humans and the future ones. He is little more than a pet of Zaroff's and his humanity has seemingly been wiped by Zaroff as if at one time Zaroff had hunted Ivan himself.

During the hunt Rainsford's panic at first settles into determination, as he hunts Zaroff and avoids him at the same time. When the dog is killed by Rainsford's trap, the foreshadowing seems to suggest that someone will be killed, and the reader fears that Rainsford will be the victim. The number of days of the hunt brings up another oblique symbol of the death and resurrection of Christ; in this case, the span of time between the crucifixion and the resurrection was about this length of time in which Christ visited hell. Why Zaroff doesn't hunt humans for two days or four days seems to point to the key number of three.

Finally, the water that got Rainsford into trouble is the water that saves him in the end. When he swims to safety and lays the trap for Zaroff, he fulfils the hunt in reverse, revealing the change he has undergone. Hence, the panic and fear experienced by hunted animals is now fulfilled in Rainsford, so he has a sincere change of heart and compassion. However, he reserves none of that compassion for Zaroff whom he easily and comfortably kills in raw vengeance.

belarafon's profile pic

belarafon | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The most obvious foreshadowing in "The Most Dangerous Game" is the extreme dark seen by Rainsford in the beginning.

"The old charts call it 'Ship-Trap Island...'"

"Can't see it," remarked Rainsford, trying to peer through the dank tropical night that was palpable as it pressed its thick warm blackness in upon the yacht.
(Connell, "The Most Dangerous Game," fiction.eserver.org)

This foreshadows the method General Zaroff uses to trap his prey, by  luring ships into a rocky deathtrap with lights that mimic a safe channel. Ships cannot see the island and its rocks in the dark, and Rainsford is both lured in by a gunshot from the dark and then hunted by Zaroff in the dark.

Another element of foreshadowing is Rainsford's offhanded statement that the world is composed of "hunters and huntees." This idea is taken to its extreme by Zaroff and rejected in spirit by Rainsford, but he finds himself needing to conform to it by the end of the story. When he confronts Zaroff, he describes himself as "a beast at bay," to Zaroff's hunter. This brings his personal journey full-circle, from hunter to prey and then back to hunter.


User Comments

boeing's profile pic

boeing | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

The foreshadow is the opposite of "flash back".I have found one of foreshadow and that is when Rainsford and his friend are talking about the island on the yacht.when rainsford`s friend says its an mysterious island,Rainsofrd answered:How? CANNIBALS?

it is foreshadow coz later in the island there is a Cannibal! who is general Zaroff.