What are the traps in "The Most Dangerous Game?"  

Expert Answers

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

There are multiple traps set by Rainsford and Zaroff in Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game."

1. Rainsford gives Zaroff a false trail to follow so as to lead him away from him. He hopes that Zaroff cannot follow an intricate path in the dark. Only the best hunters can do this.

"I'll give him a trail to follow," muttered Rainsford, and he struck off from the rude path he had been following into the trackless wilderness. He executed a series of intricate loops; he doubled on his trail again and again, recalling all the lore of the fox hunt, and all the dodges of the fox.

Even so zealous a hunter as General Zaroff could not trace him there, he told himself; only the devil himself could follow that complicated trail through the jungle after dark. But perhaps the general was a devil--

2. Zaroff, wanting to prove to Rainsford that he was the more astute hunter, forms a "trap" (mental trap) by forcing Rainsford to recognize his stealth.

But the sharp eyes of the hunter stopped before they reached the limb where Rainsford lay; a smile spread over his brown face. Very deliberately he blew a smoke ring into the air; then he turned his back on the tree and walked carelessly away, back along the trail he had come. The swish of the underbrush against his hunting boots grew fainter and fainter.

The general was playing with him! The general was saving him for another day's sport! The Cossack was the cat; he was the mouse. Then it was that Rainsford knew the full meaning of terror.

3. Rainford makes a Malay mancatcher to trap Zaroff. Unfortunately for Rainsford, Zaroff is not killed by the trap. Instead, Zaroff calls out to Rainsford noting his skill.

His foot touched the protruding bough that was the trigger. Even as he touched it, the general sensed his danger and leaped back with the agility of an ape. But he was not quite quick enough; the dead tree, delicately adjusted to rest on the cut living one, crashed down and struck the general a glancing blow on the shoulder as it fell; but for his alertness, he must have been smashed beneath it.

"Rainsford," called the general, "if you are within sound of my voice, as I suppose you are, let me congratulate you. Not many men know how to make a Malay mancatcher. Luckily for me I, too, have hunted in Malacca. You are proving interesting, Mr. Rainsford. I am going now to have my wound dressed; it's only a slight one. But I shall be back. I shall be back."

4. Death Swamp--While not a trap as created by Rainsford or Zaroff, Death Swamp boasts quicksand which will suck a man in and end his life.

5. Burmese Tiger Pit--Rainsford creates a pit which kills only one of Zaroff's best hunting dogs. The pit fails to take Zaroff's life. Zaroff again congratulates Rainsford on his skills.

"You've done well, Rainsford," the voice of the general called. "Your Burmese tiger pit has claimed one of my best dogs. Again you score. I think, Mr. Rainsford, Ill see what you can do against my whole pack. I'm going home for a rest now. Thank you for a most amusing evening."

6. Rainsford made a trap out of sapling and his knife. The trap has a trip "wire" which would sned the knife into the person who trips the wire.

7. The last trap is Rainsford hiding out in Zaroff's house and taking his life there.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial