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An example of an external conflict that caused an internal conflict within Rainsford was General Zaroff’s decision to hunt him.
An external conflict is a conflict between a character and someone else. Being his prey made Rainsford have an external conflict with Zaroff, but determining how to defeat him caused an internal conflict. An internal conflict is a problem one has with one’s self. It is a fear or decision that needs to be made. Rainsford was afraid of Zaroff, and worried about how he would defeat him.
Rainsford did not want to believe what his reason told him was true, but the truth was as evident as the sun that had by now pushed through the morning mists. The general was playing with him!
Rainsford has to find a way to overcome his fear of Zaroff and the island, and also find ways to use the most of his cunning and skill. He also has to decide what to do when he faces off with Zaroff in the end.
Rainsford decides to kill his nemesis. Does he experience an internal conflict about this? We do not know, because we are not privy to Rainsford’s thoughts at the time. We can assume he did, because he objected to murder earlier.
If he felt any conflict with killing Zaroff, Rainsford must have come to the conclusion that killing a murderer in self-defense (or not, depending on your interpretation of the story and what you think Zaroff woould do) is acceptable.
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