What choice does Zaroff give to Rainsford in Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"? Why is there really no choice at all?
When General Zaroff and Rainsford are talking about the hunting game that is played on Ship-Trap Island, Rainsford asks what Zaroff says if a man does not want to be hunted? Zaroff's response is as follows:
"I give him his option, of course. He need not play that game if he doesn't wish to. If he does not wish to hunt, I turn him over to Ivan. Ivan once had the honor of serving as official knouter to the Great White Czar, and he has his own ideas of sport. Invariably, Mr. Rainsford, invariably they choose the hunt."
A "knouter" is a someone who punishes criminals with a knout, or a kind of leather whip. This isn't much of a choice for Zaroff's "guests" because if a man is hunted on the island, he has a chance to survive or fight for his life. If a person chooses to be whipped by Ivan, though, he has no opportunity to save his life or escape pain. Rainsford requests to leave the island without playing the game, but Zaroff does not make any concessions. In fact, Zaroff responds to Rainsford by saying the following:
"The choice rests entirely with you. But may I not venture to suggest that you will find my idea of sport more diverting than Ivan's?"
Rainsford is surprised that Zaroff truly intends to hunt him even though he is a famous hunter himself. For Zaroff, who often becomes bored with his quarry's boring attempts to survive, hunting Rainsford is a welcomed opportunity to hunt someone who is not only skilled at hunting, but who is a highly intelligent and skilled soldier as well. Nevertheless, Rainsford has a better chance to survive the hunt than he does at the end of Ivan's whip; therefore, the choice between three days of hunting versus torture is really no choice at all.