The Most Dangerous Game Conflict

What are the conflicts of the story "The Most Dangerous Game"?

The primary conflict in “The Most Dangerous Game” can be considered one of man vs. man, as Rainsford attempts to outrun and outwit the sadistic Zaroff, who hunts humans for sport. This conflict also includes elements of man vs. nature, as Rainsford is at the mercy of the elements on Ship-Trap Island and tries to use his jungle surroundings to his advantage. In addition, a man vs. self conflict is present in that Rainsford struggles with his own fear.

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An additional conflict in “The Most Dangerous Game” is an internal conflict within Rainsford. On the one hand, he's a skilled hunter, a man who's bagged more game animals than anyone could possibly imagine. At the same time, however, he has to try to imagine what it's like to be a hunted animal. He has no choice in the matter; he simply has to do this if he's to survive being hunted by General Zaroff.

Rainsford, then, is riven by conflict. It's not easy for an ace hunter like himself to have to try and act like a hunted animal for the first time in his life. Even so, one could reasonably argue that Rainsford eventually manages to resolve this conflict by drawing upon his vast experience of being a hunter to put himself in the position of a hunted animal. In doing so, Rainsford is effectively forced to acknowledge that there's a fine line between the hunter and the hunted.

Rainsford may be more hunted than hunter as he engages in his life-and-death struggle with Zaroff, but his experience with hunting animals has given him a fighting chance of survival. In turn, this will allow him to prevail in the most important conflict in the whole story, that between Rainsford and Zaroff.

Last Reviewed by eNotes Editorial on December 22, 2020
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The main conflict in "The Most Dangerous Game" centers on Rainsford being forced to take part in a deadly hunt against Zaroff and Ivan.  Zaroff has been looking for a human who was worthy of his skill and prowress, so you can imagine his delight at finding someone as good as Rainsford to hunt.  According to the rules of the game, Rainsford is given a head start, and his goal is to basically survive and not let Zaroff kill him.

The conflict continues as the two face off in what ends up being a very interesting battle of wits and skill.  The first night, Zaroff catches Rainsford by spotting him in a tree.  However, he decides not to kill him, as he wants a better game.  This is a deadly mistake, as it turns out, as Rainsford kills him in the end.  So yes, the conflict involves Rainsford having to stay alive.

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Man vs. man, man vs. self, man vs. nature, and man vs. animal are also examples of the types of conflict present in the story.

The first, man vs. man, is the most apparent and obvious conflict in that it presents the primary conflict for the protagonist, that being Rainsford finding himself pitted against his host, General Zaroff, in a fight for his life.

Man vs. self is the personal and internal struggle that Rainsford is experiencing.  At the opening of the story, we learn that he finds hunting to be the greatest sport and shows no care for the feelings of his prey as evidenced in his conversations on the ship before he falls off and arrives at Shiptrap Island.

Man vs. nature occurs as he is running through the jungle away from Zaroff.  He must use his surroundings to his advantage to save himself from Zaroff's gun.

Finally, man vs. animal is quite specific in that it occurs when he running from Zaroff's dogs. He must use one of his hunting traps to save himself from their menacing jaws.

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In "The Most Dangerous Game " there are many conflicts.

1.  Human vs. Nature - Rainsford first encounters his struggle with the sea after falling overboard.  He also has to survive on an island that he knows nothing about like an animal using only his instincts.

2.  Human vs. Human - Rainsford has to survive in the hunt against Zaroff and his cohort in crime, Ivan.  He has to use his wit and knowledge to outsmart Zaroff who has been plasying the "Game" alot longer than he has.

3.  Human vs. Self - Rainsford has to struggle with himself to not join in the hunt and risk being killed by Ivan or to join in the hunt going against all his values and morals as a human being. 

The conflicts encountered during the story are definitely a struggle for "Survival of the Fittest."



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Human vs. Nature: Rainsford must survive in the jungle, at night. This in itself presents special challenges and conflicts. Before that, he had to survive the ocean, after he fell off the yacht and swam to shore (don't forget the jagged rocks.)

Human vs. Human: Rainsford vs. Zaroff (the hunt!)

Human vs. Self: Internal conflicts range from Rainsford struggling to make the best decisions he can in order to survive, to Rainsford grappling with the feeling of being hunted - and being on the other side of the scope for the first time in his life (remember the conversation with Whitey onboard the yacht, where Rainsford dismissed Whitey's comment about animal feeling he knows another perspective.)

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All stories have conflicts or problems. "The Most Dangerous Game" also has many including all of the conflicts you mentioned in your question.

Human vs. Nature--Rainsford is first placed against the sea when the ship wrecks; then he faces the jungle along with all the elements within it.

Human vs. Human--Easy--Rainsford vs. Zaroff and his sidekick.

Human vs. self--I feel pretty sure that Rainsford had to face some pretty strong emotions, namely fear, in his fight against Zaroff.

I'm also sure that the dogs come in at some point, maybe nature?, but I'm not quite sure where I would place them.

Hope this helps. Brenda

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