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I'm sure that General Zaroff was not expecting the surprise appearance of Rainsford in his bedroom at the end of the story, and I doubt that he expected to die in the manner that he did--as the hunted and not the hunter. But Zaroff found new life in his new game.
"... it supplies me with the most exciting hunting in the world. No other hunting compares with it for an instant. Every day I hunt, and I never grow bored now, for I have a quarry with which I can match my wits."
His whole life evolved around the hunt--first as a child in Russia, then as a division commander of Cossack cavalry and, finally, as an international big game hunter. It gives him great "pleasure," and he does not consider the human hunt as murder; he believes that he allows the imprisoned sailors a real chance to earn their freedom, and at least once, " 'One almost did win.' " However, Zaroff admits that the "ennui" he once felt sometimes returned, and he must have immensely enjoyed his pursuit of Rainsford: As a human prey, Rainsford provided Zaroff with more of a challenge than any of Zaroff's other victims. The boredom that Zaroff sometimes experienced when hunting the lesser men was not found during the hours spent tracking Rainsford. His pursuit of Rainsford made "a smile spread over his brown face," and when Zaroff is injured by Rainsford's "Malay mancatcher," the general laughed and offered Rainsford congratulations. After losing one of his dogs in the improvised Burmese tiger pit, the "deliciously tired" Zaroff honors Rainsford once again.
"Thank you for a most amusing evening."
In the end, when Zaroff must have realized he would have little chance to survive being hunted by Rainsford, he nevertheless appears happy to accept this new challenge. Smiling,
The general made one of his deepest bows. "I see," he said. "Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford..."
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