How does Rainsford kill General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" is focused on two men, Rainsford and Zaroff, both world-class hunters. General Zaroff lives on an island in the Caribbean so he can do what he wants without the intrusion of the authorities because what he has begun doing is hunting humans. Even that was beginning to bore him before Rainsford accidentally ended up on the island.

Rainsford is forced to try to save his life as he is hunted for three days by General Zaroff. On the third day, when he is trapped, Rainsford jumps off a cliff. The next time we see him again is in the last lines of the story when Zaroff retires to his bedroom, pleased with himself for having defeated his prey. Suddenly, 

[a] man, who had been hiding in the curtains of the bed, was standing there.

"Rainsford!" screamed the general. "How in God's name did you get here?"

"Swam," said Rainsford. "I found it quicker than walking through the jungle."

The general sucked in his breath and smiled. "I congratulate you," he said. "You have won the game."

Rainsford did not smile. "I am still a beast at bay," he said, in a low, hoarse voice. "Get ready, General Zaroff."

The general made one of his deepest bows. "I see," he said. "Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford." . . .

He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.

The truth is that we cannot be sure how Sanger Rainsford killed General Zaroff. We can assume it was not by gun or knife, as Rainsford has neither, unless he risked finding something to use in Zaroff's house. It is more likely that It was a physical fight, and the more motivated hunter won--Sanger Rainsford.