In "The Most Dangerous Game," what are the opposing views on life and its purpose?
Rainsford and General Zaroff share some of their views, but are steadfastly in opposition on the value of human life.
Zaroff's view is somewhat based in Darwinsim, the idea that the strong survive and inherit the Earth based on their strength. His strength is what he believes entitles him to capture and hunt men, because they are weaker; Zaroff believes himself to be superior because of his strength, not in addition to it. In this manner, he excuses his actions as both unavoidable -- he hunts because that is his role in life -- and as moral, because of his status as strong rather than weak.
"Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure."
Rainsford initially shares a similar vie.: "The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees" (Connell). However, his exposure to Zaroff's views shows him the slippery slope of that view:
Surely your experiences in the war--"
"Did not make me condone cold-blooded murder," finished Rainsford stiffly.
(Connell, "The Most Dangerous Game," fiction.eserver.org)
While he rejects the notion that the strong are allowed to oppress the weak based solely on their strength, whether gained or given, he still refuses to give in to Zaroff's hunt. As prey, Rainsford shows value for his own life, and is willing to kill dogs and men to survive; however, this is based in survival rather than sport. Rainsford would likely argue that while he hunted animals for sport and food, he hunted men only when forced to by circumstance.