What conclusion can support: "In the short story, The Most Dangerous Game, Rainsford and Zaroff experience internal and external conflicts.

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the short story "The Most Dangerous Game," both General Zaroff and Rainsford experience internal and external conflicts. General Zaroff's internal conflict concerns his inability to satiate his fanatical desire to hunt. General Zaroff mentions to Rainsford,

"I was lying in my tent with a splitting headache one night when a terrible thought pushed its way into my mind. Hunting was beginning to bore me! And hunting, remember, had been my life." (Connell, 6)

In order to satisfy his desire, the general begins hunting humans on Ship-Trap Island because of their ability to reason. General Zaroff's external conflict concerns killing Rainsford, who is an elite, dangerous opponent. As the general is hunting Rainsford, he has to avoid various traps that Rainsford sets in hopes of killing him. At the end of the story, the general has to fight Rainsford in a one-on-one battle to the death. Unfortunately for General Zaroff, Rainsford ends up winning the fight by killing him.

Rainsford's internal conflict concerns his ability to maintain his composure, control his fear, and think clearly while being hunted by General Zaroff. After the general follows Rainsford's trail and walks away before looking up in the tree, Rainsford realizes that Zaroff is saving him for another day of hunting. Evidence of Rainsford's internal conflict is revealed when he says,

"I will not lose my nerve. I will not." (12)

Rainsford's external conflicts involve defeating General Zaroff and surviving through the treacherous natural environment of Ship-Trap Island. Rainsford is forced to outwit and avoid the general as he is being hunted throughout the island. Rainsford also must maneuver through dense forests, avoid deadly quicksand, and survive rough ocean waters in order to win the "game." At the end of the story, Rainford sneaks into the general's room and ends up killing him in a one-on-one battle.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While Rainsford is "a beast at bay," that is, while he is hunted as though a wild animal, he has some close encounters with death. In one incident the general trails Rainsford to the tree, but turns and leaves as Rainsford realizes

The general was saving him for another day's sport!  The Cossack was the cat; he was the mouse.  Then it was that Rainsfor knew the full meaning of error.

Sliding down from the tree, Rainsford creates a malay man-catcher, which the general deftly dodges, but not before complimenting him.  Nursing an injured shoulder, Zaroff leaves agains.  Rainsfor "took up his flight again...a desperate, hopeless flight."  After making a pit, he crouches behind the stump of a tree felled by lightning.  Zaroff again approaches quickly; Rainsford nervously listens,

Rainsford, crouching there, could not see the general, nor could he see the pit.  He lived a year in a minute.  Then he felt an impulse to cry aloud with joy, for he heard the sharp crackle of the breaking branches as the cover of the pit gave way....

Nervously, Rainsford waits for the approach of Zaroff.  In that minute he wonders if Zaroff will see the trap, fall into it, or discover him.  It is a moment between life and death and feels like an eternity while Rainsford anxiously awaits fate.

In that minute, too, the inner conflict that Rainsford has with hunting men is resolved.  He wants to live; in order to live, he must kill General Zaroff.  The most dangerous game must be played and ethics are laid aside. All conflicts are resolved after Rainsford's inner turmoil.  He escapes to the sea and returns to kill Zaroff, alone in his bedroom; Rainsford decides, "He ha never slept in a better bed."

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The Most Dangerous Game

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