How does "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell, show that the murder for Zaroff is simple and careless?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game" is replete with indications that to General Zaroff hunting humans is not much different than hunting any other animal and is, in fact, more like a game.

The first indication we have is in the title, "The Most Dangerous Game." Yes, the word dangerous is there, but so is the word game. For Rainsford the title is personal, as he is the most dangerous game (prey to be hunted); however, for Zaroff, his hunting of Rainsford is just a game.

The next indicator we have that Zaroff sees hunting humans in a "simple and careless" way is his lack of emotion when he tells Rainsford about it. When Rainsford asks his host about the new form of hunting he has developed, the general (over cocktails and borscht) says this:

"I'll tell you," said the general. "You will be amused, I know. I think I may say, in all modesty, that I have done a rare thing. I have invented a new sensation. May I pour you another glass of port?"

Zaroff thinks hunting humans is amusing and a rare sensation; even worse, he assumes others will agree with him.

After dinner, the general cavalierly offers to show Rainsford his latest collection of heads, and of course they are human heads. Not surprisingly, Rainsford passes on the offer.

All of this happens before Zaroff even begins to hunt Rainsford. On the first day of the three-day hunt, Rainsford feels as if he has eluded Zaroff, but eventually Zaroff does find him, hidden in a tree; however, the general refuses to look high enough to see Rainsford so he can hunt him again tomorrow. He smiles in such a way that Rainsford knows he has been seen but also reveals Zaroff's unwillingness to quite playing this "amusing" game of his. 

In short, General Zaroff sees hunting humans as nothing more than a game, which means he values the sport (game) of hunting more than human life. 

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