silhouette of a man with one eye open hiding in the jungle

The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell
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In Richard Connell’s short story “The Most Dangerous Game,” does Zaroff give a fair chance to his human opponents?

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On his remote island off the coast of South America the sociopathic General Zaroff hunts men for sport. He has grown tired of hunting animals because he has grown too expert in his chosen passion so he hunts men who become stranded on the island, which has the nickname "Ship-Trap."...

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On his remote island off the coast of South America the sociopathic General Zaroff hunts men for sport. He has grown tired of hunting animals because he has grown too expert in his chosen passion so he hunts men who become stranded on the island, which has the nickname "Ship-Trap." After revealing his diabolical pastime to Rainsford during their dinner conversation, Zaroff notes that the men he hunts are treated quite well before they are released into the jungle:

"I treat these visitors with every consideration. They get plenty of good food and exercise. They get into splendid physical condition."

Along with this the general provides them with food, a good hunting knife, and gives them a three hours' head start before releasing them. Afterward he sets off after them with "a pistol of the smallest caliber and range." It could then be argued that Zaroff does indeed give them somewhat of a fair chance. Of course, a really fair chance would involve also giving them the same type of pistol which he carries and a map of the island. The general, however, is quite uncanny in his abilities and even Rainsford, a seasoned hunter himself, has difficulty eluding Zaroff. The general also has the aid of trained tracking dogs if his prey is particularly skilled, as Rainsford proves to be. Ultimately, it takes a daring leap into the sea for Rainsford to avoid death at the general's hands. With this in mind, it is evident that Zaroff has too many advantages for the game to be considered fair.

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