silhouette of a man with one eye open hiding in the jungle

The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell
Start Free Trial

How is Rainsford fearful in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Richard Connell's story "The Most Dangerous Game," the American hunter Rainsford becomes fearful as an animal is fearful when it becomes the prey of a hunter. This is because Rainsford does become the prey of the monstrous General Zaroff.

At the beginning of the story, Rainsford...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In Richard Connell's story "The Most Dangerous Game," the American hunter Rainsford becomes fearful as an animal is fearful when it becomes the prey of a hunter. This is because Rainsford does become the prey of the monstrous General Zaroff.

At the beginning of the story, Rainsford scoffs when his friend Whitney talks about how the animals they hunt must feel. "They've no understanding," Rainsford remarks, but Whitney contradicts him, saying that the animals understand the fear of pain and death. Rainsford responds with a laugh and the comment "Nonsense." He has no pity for his prey.

But then, Rainsford becomes the prey in General Zaroff's hunting game. The General has become bored with hunting. He has, after all, many years of experience, and the animals don't provide much of a challenge anymore. He makes use of the deadly rocks around his island to catch ships and their crews, and he uses the men as his new prey.

Rainsford has arrived on the island after accidentally falling overboard, and Zaroff decides that his new guest will be the perfect prey for his next hunting game. Rainsford might even provide something of a challenge.

Rainsford does indeed provide Zaroff with a challenge, and he wins the game in the end, but not before he discovers what fear really means. He discovers the horror of a hunter creeping up on him, ready for the kill. He learns the terror of a pack of dogs being set loose on his trail. He experiences firsthand the fear of pain and death that Whitney talks about—the fear of being the prey.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on