After being "bitterly disappointed" with the hunting of jaguars in South America, General Zaroff was finding himself bored with hunting. For a man whose "hand was made for the trigger," Zaroff was worried that he might eventually "go to pieces" like many American businessmen who give up their work.
"I had no wish to go to pieces," he said.
Zaroff had come to the conclusion that hunting no longer presented him
"a sporting proposition... It had become too easy... There is no greater bore than perfection."
So, for his own personal gratification and mental stability, Zaroff decided to try his hand at the hunting of humans. Humans could reason, Zaroff told Rainsford, and reason was a far greater quality than animal instinct. To Zaroff, hunting humans was not murder; the men he hunted were "the scum of the earth," and he fed them well and kept them in good physical condition. Above all, it gave him pleasure.
"Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift?"