The Most Dangerous Game is a short story that features a great deal of foreshadowing and irony. The first scene in the story, in which the protagonist (Rainsford ) and his friend Whitney discuss hunting and in which Rainsford posits that animals "have no understanding" and therefore feel...
The Most Dangerous Game is a short story that features a great deal of foreshadowing and irony. The first scene in the story, in which the protagonist (Rainsford) and his friend Whitney discuss hunting and in which Rainsford posits that animals "have no understanding" and therefore feel nothing, is filled with foreshadowing.
After their boat sinks and Rainsford finds himself on a mysterious island, more foreshadowing occurs in the form of Count Zaroff, the antagonist, and his pack of dogs. The dogs help Zaroff hunt, but what is he interested in hunting? Due to the set up, the reader slowly catches on to the fact that there can only be one ultimate animal to hunt: man. The dogs, who will soon be hunting Rainsford, represent situational irony (especially since they are "man's best friend").
Suspense is important in this story because once the reader becomes aware that Rainsford will be the quarry, each scene unfolds on the premise that he could be captured, but in each subsequent scene, he finds a clever way to outwit Zaroff. As he barely escapes capture, the hounds baying in the background, Rainsford's fate is still not clear. It is impossible to tell if he will survive, as his chances seem limited given that Zaroff is a skilled hunter who has an assistant, dogs, and plenty of food and water. Does he deserve to live, given all the animals he has hunted and killed?
Suspense drives much of the plot in The Most Dangerous Game. Without suspense, the story would not move forward, since the story is a very simple one. Due to the nature of the subject and the implicit assumption that experienced hunters usually capture their prey—and Rainsford has been such a hunter—it seems as though his fate should be to die at the hands of Zaroff. Yet, the reader can't help but root for him.
The suspense is not resolved till the final act, when Rainsford shows up inside the castle and the evil Zaroff is foiled. Therefore, throughout all of the story after the exposition, suspense is a key element.