Give examples of foreshadowing concerning Rainsford, the general, and the setting in " The Most Dangerous Game".

Expert Answers
schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The foreshadowing begins early in the story. Whitney, Rainsford friend, tells him that the name of the island is "Ship Trap Island" and  sailors are very nervous about it. The ship's captain has told Whitney,

"This place has an evil name among seafaring men...Don't you feel anything?--as if the air about us was actually poisonous?" (pg 1)

This foreshadows the fact that something evil happens on the island.

 Whitney and Rainsford also talk about hunting.  When Rainsford says that hunting is the best sport in the world, Whitney comments that for the hunter it is, but not for the jaguar.  Rainsford scoffs at him, and Whitney replies, 

"Even so, I rather think they understand one thing--fear.  The fear of pain and the fear of death." (pg 1)

Rainford will later be able to identify with this fear when he is  hunted by Zaroff. 

When Rainsford falls off the yacht, he swims to shore.  He is a strong swimmer.  This is important and foreshadows the swimming he had to do at the end of the story. 

When he was in the water, he was directed to the shore by two sounds. 

"Somewhere, off in the blackness, someone had fired a gun three times. (pg 2)

"Rainsford heard a sound.  It came out of the darkness, a high screaming sound, the sound of an animal in an extremity of anguish and terror.  He did not recognize the animal that made the sound....he heard it again; then it was cut short by another noise, crisp staccato." (pg 2)

Rainsford was a professional hunter, and yet he did not recognize the animal that made the sound.  This foreshadows that it may be something unusual.  When Rainsford arrives on the shoreline, he sees evidence of the shooting and a 22 casing. 

"That's odd.  It must have been a fairly large animal too.  The hunter had his nerve with him to tackle it with a light gun.  It's clear that the brute put up a fight." (pg 3)

This foreshadows again the type of animal that Zaroff hunts.

Rainsford walks until he arrives at Zaroff's home, a palatial chateau.

"It was set on a high bluff, and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows." (pg 3)

It is due to this unusual placement of the chateau that Rainsford will be able to defeat Zaroff. When Rainsford enters the chateau, he finds,

"About the hall were mounted heads of many animals --lions, tigers, elephants, moose, bears; larger or  more perfect specimens Rainsford had never seen.  (pg 4)

This foreshadows Zaroff's love and history of hunting. However, there was something about Zaroff that bothered Rainsford.

"Whenever he looked up from his plate, he found the general studying him, appraising him narrowly." (pg 4)

This foreshadows that Zaroff is evaluating him as possible quarry.

When Rainsford remarks that he thinks the Cape buffalo is the most dangerous game to hunt, Zaroff objects,

"No, You are wrong, sir.  The Cape buffalo is not the most dangerous game.  Here on my preserve on this island, I hunt more dangerous game." (pg 4)

This foreshadows the fact that Zaroff hunts men. He tells Rainsford that he has to stock the island with this game.  Again this is a foreshadowing of the "Ship Trap Island" idea. 

Finally the general tells Rainsford,

"I wanted the ideal animal to must have courage, cunning, and above all, it must be able to reason." 

Since no animal can reason except a man, this foreshadows that Zaroff hunts men.


Read the study guide:
The Most Dangerous Game

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question