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 Zaroff able to finance his lifestyle in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Expert Answers

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

Zaroff inherited his money from his father, then invested it.

Zaroff is a Russian Cossack, and the son of a nobleman.  His father was “a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea” and he inherited this money.  He also served in the army, as...

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

Zaroff inherited his money from his father, then invested it.

Zaroff is a Russian Cossack, and the son of a nobleman.  His father was “a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea” and he inherited this money.  He also served in the army, as was expected of noblemen’s sons.  After “the debacle in Russia,” Zaroff left the country.

Many noble Russians lost everything. I, luckily, had invested heavily in American securities, so I shall never have to open a tearoom in Monte Carlo or drive a taxi in Paris.

Zaroff’s wealth is what allowed him to create his own little private game reserve on a deserted island.  He built himself a chateau and lived off of his investments, having an excellent life.  Unfortunately, he amused himself by capturing and hunting down men.

The fact that he escaped the scandal in Russia relatively unscathed shows that Zaroff is very cunning.  As an expert in wiggling out of difficult situations, he seems untouchable.  He never faces any consequences for his actions, until he tries to take on Rainsford.  This is one of the main reasons Rainsford had to kill him.  There was no other way to stop him.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Zaroff tells Rainsford the first night they meet that after the fall of the czar, he put money into American investments (unlike his less fortunate copatriots).

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While we are never specifically told how Zaroff has achieved his wealthy status, we can infer that he is an eccentric millionare, based upon his home, his furnishings, his attire, and other factors like servants. We do know that both he and Ivan are Russians; Cossacks to be more specific. And given the fact that his title is "General," we may also presume that he has had military experience. None of those factors, however, gives us a reason for Zaroff's bountiful lifestyle.  

How he has come to live on the island and hunt humans is not totally explained, although the General does say that he has hunted around the world, and killed exotic and dangerous animals previously. One might speculate that some of the General's wealth has been generated from the humans he traps and kills on his island, but certainly his victims' assets are not his sole means of support. For instance, the ships that crash into his strategically-placed rocks could carry any number of valuable items, and once they go down, they become Zaroff's for the taking. The reader is asked to engage in suspension of disbelief to make Zaroff into the character that he is.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on