What themes does the author address in "The Most Dangerous Game?"
I think the main theme (other than just the excitement of the story) is that of civilization -- what does it mean to be civilized? Zaroff claims to be a very civilized man, but he hunts people. Does that make him uncivilized?
I think a second important theme is that of revenge and what amount of revenge is morally defensible. Was it morally okay for Rainsford to kill Zaroff at the end of the story?
A third theme is related to the first -- how does war affect people? Both Zaroff and Rainsford have been in wars. You can argue that Zaroff's experiences in the war are to blame for his behavior.
Here are a few others to consider:
- Survival of the fittest - The most dangerous game is a game of wit and skill. The story ultimately demonstrates who had more.
- The concept of the hunt - While Whitney and Rainsford are both still talking on the boat, they refer to the qualities of the quarry... and if a particular quarry has feelings. Then, the tables turned on Rainsford and he became the quarry. This could be a great theme to explore as we all feel like we're in both roles at various times in life.
Hope that gives you a bit more to think about!