I need a compare and contrast on Zaroff and Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game".

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two men come from very different backgrounds.  Rainsford is "an American hunter of world renown" who has written a book about hunting snow leopards in Tibet.  He, like Zaroff, has both a very refined nature and an avid interest in hunting.

Zaroff, in contrast, is a Cossack, who claims to have been a high-ranking officer for the former Tsar of Russia.  He lives in a "palatial chateau" like royalty, and is distinguished by a "cultivated voice", "fine clothes", and the "singularly handsome features of an aristocrat". 

Zaroff has a grisly obsession for hunting human beings.  He delights in capturing stranded sailors and forcing them to play his game as the hunted; Zaroff sees the killing of human beings as being a "very modern, even civilized" sport.  Rainsford, in contrast, is appalled at Zaroff's lack of morality, and considers him to be little more than a murderer.   The difference between the two men is called into question, however, when Rainsford outwits Zaroff at his own game, and refuses to end the game when victory is assured - even though it is not necessary, Rainsford kills Zaroff, and usurps his place in his palace.  The story raises the question as to whether, despite their different professions about the killing game, Rainsford in the final analysis harbors the same ruthless evil in his character as his opponent.

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The Most Dangerous Game

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