In Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," what is Rainsford's conflict with Zaroff, and how is it finally resolved?

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brendawm's profile pic

brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The conflict between Rainsford and Zaroff is brought about by Zaroff's irrational desire to hunt and animal of intelligence, a bill which Rainsford readily fills.  It is resolved when a more intelligent Rainsford out thinks Zaroff and overcomes him in his own bedroom at the end of the story.  

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The conflict in Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" is man vs. man: Rainsford vs. General Zaroff. Both men are skilled and experienced hunters. Normally, each man's conflict as a hunter would be between himself and his animal quarry; however, in this story, Rainsford learns what it is like to be General Zaroff's quarry. When Rainsford first discovers that General Zaroff hunts men, and Zaroff invites him to participate in such a hunt, Rainsford says, "Thank you, I'm a hunter, not a murderer." Little does Rainsford know that the invitation to hunt is not to join Zaroff as a hunter, but as the one to be hunted. 

The rules of the game are that Rainsford has three days and nights to stay alive. Zaroff usually hunts at night to give the game more intensity. All Rainsford has to do is survive those three days, and he can go home; otherwise, he dies. However, the unexpected happens during the three days of hunting. Rainsford not only comes to feel fear like an animal being hunted, but he seems to turn into an animal himself. For example, when Rainsford does survive the three days, rather than accepting his win and allowing Zaroff to send him back to America, he kills his opponent like a "beast at bay" would kill its predator. Thus, Rainsford forgets what he says in the beginning about not killing other men and kills Zaroff. Therefore, the conflict is resolved when Rainsford and Zaroff fight, Zaroff dies, and Rainsford comes off the conqueror. The interesting thing about the resolution is that Rainsford completely changes his attitude towards killing men by the end of his traumatic hunting experience.

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brendawm's profile pic

brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The conflict between Rainsford and Zaroff is brought about by Zaroff's irrational desire to hunt and animal of intelligence, a bill which Rainsford readily fills.  It is resolved when a more intelligent Rainsford out thinks Zaroff and overcomes him in his own bedroom at the end of the story.  

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