Is the title of "The Most Dangerous Game" ironic at all?  Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In a most skillfully contrived plot, Richard Connell presents antagonists and protagonists who, ironically, switch roles under a title that is both double entendre and ironic.  In oneinstnace of irony, as they dine in his chateau, General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford discuss hunting and big game.  Rainsford tells the general that he has always felt that the Cape buffalo is "the most dangerous of big game," but the general counters with the remark,

"Here in my preserve on this island,....I hunt more dangerous game....[T]he biggest."

Thus, there is much irony in General Zaroff's remark. The "game" of which he speaks is the human being, who, while by no means is the biggest in size, is certainly the most clever and intelligent, and, therefore, dangerous.

Zaroff considers man as the most dangerous of game since man can use his intellectual capabilities and devise clever schemes for the defeat of his foe.  His term is ironic because he says something and means more than what he says in his response to Rainsford's comment about the Cape buffalo.  Furthermore, Zaroff's remark is also an example of dramatic irony as he does not realize that it is he who is to become, not the hunter, but himself the "most dangerous game."

cli-gk's profile pic

cli-gk | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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Yes, the title is ironic. "Game" refers both to the  sport and the creature being hunted.

A hunter stalks an animal with a weapon or sets a trap and captures or kills the animal. This is the "sport" of hunting, like any game, there are rules and boundaries.

The sport can be dangerous if the prey-- also called "game"  is capable of turning on the hunter-- a bear hunter could be attacked by the bear.

The irony the title is that the "game" set up by turns on the hunter because the "game" is more dangerous than he expected.

Substitute "prey" and "sport" alternately for "game." There's the irony; the outcome is opposite of what would be expected, but exactly what could have been foreseen.

 

 

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