"The Most Dangerous Game" portrays good and evil using the two main characters: Rainsford and General Zaroff. Which one of them is good and which one them is evil?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What a good question.  Generally speaking, general Zaroff is evil.  The extent of his evil is seen in his brazen desire to hunt humans for his own pleasure, or to put it another way to hunt humans to get over his boredom.  Here is what the text says:

To Rainsford's questioning glance the general said, "Ennui. Boredom."

From this perspective, Zaroff is the epitome of evil in this story. When it comes to Rainsford, we might think that he is the opposite of Zaroff, but he is not. He is not completely good. In the beginning of the story, Rainsford comes off as a arrogant hunter.  When his friend, Whitney, said that animals might have feelings, Rainsford dismissed it without hesitation.  He says:

"Bah! They've no understanding."

"Even so, I rather think they understand one thing--fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death."

At the end of the story, Rainsford becomes a hunter again.  He kills Zaroff.  Some might say that he had to do so, but this is not clear.  

In conclusion, no one comes off as good.  Zaroff is evil. Rainsford is better than Zaroff, but not good.  This is a story where no one is good.




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The Most Dangerous Game

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