In "The Most Dangerous Game," what are General Zaroff's reasons for being on the island?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator


General Zaroff has secluded himself to the island for two main reasons:

First, he has made it his passion to hunt human beings instead of animals. This practice would not be tolerated in civilized society, so he creates his own hunting preserve where laws cannot touch him. The island is both a prison for the men on it, and a place where others cannot find him and tell his tale to the world.

Secondly, Zaroff is hiding from his past. As a former Cossack, he would be persecuted in his native Russia, in England, and in America. Instead, he spent years traveling the world and hunting, until he finally became bored with unreasoning animals. On the island, he can live like a nobleman, with fine foods and servants, and still indulge his passion for hunting without worry about his past catching up with him.


tim16 | Student

General zaroff is a Cossack thereoff making him an outlaw so they decided that they would separate themselves from the rest of society.

tim16 | Student

The final decades of the nineteenth century marked turbulent times for Russia. After the emancipation of the Russian serfs, or peasant laborers, in 1861, the country as a whole began to expect that greater reform was unavoidable. The people would ultimately call for the revolutionary over-throw of the czar (or tsar), the autocratic emperor of Russia, but they first took a milder approach. On January 9, 1905, a priest named Georgi Gapon led a march in St. Petersburg to petition Czar Nicholas II for reforms. In response, the czar sent his soldiers, some Cossack troops, against the marchers, and thousands were ruthlessly killed. The incident came to be known as Bloody Sunday, the day on which the czar began to lose the allegiance of his people. Socialist ideas, particularly the ideas of Karl Marx, were circulating through the nation in the early 1900s, and they gained adherents after 1905. Different Marxist groups appeared, with contrary ideas about the stages Russia must go through before becoming a socialist country. Meanwhile, the educated elite, the intelligentsia, started making a more conscious commitment to remove the czar. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, a resurgence of patriotism swept the nation and the revolutionary movement slowed. Russia, however, experienced a string of devastating military defeats, and the economy suffered. Unrest spread rapidly, with the people blaming the czar for the deaths of millions of young Russians in the military disasters and for the abysmal living conditions at home. Workers' strikes and demonstrations were followed by rebellion. Political radicals established a provisional government of their own in Russia in early 1917. The czar and his forces were unable to regain control of the situation. Shortly thereafter, his military leaders recommended that the czar abdicate, and he did. After the czar abdicated, Russia continued to fight in World War I under the leadership of the country's provisional government. A socialist leader of this government, Alexander Kerensky, sponsored a new offensive in the war, but it failed. There was also little improvement in conditions at home. Food shortages mounted, and the new leaders failed to meet the people's demand for a constitution or for redistribution of land and money in Russia.

tim16 | Student

     General Zaroff's reason for being on the island is that he wants to hunt dangerous game.He has designed the island according to his needs.He has made a channel the traps ships thinking,i t is a port but a trap that is why the island is called Ship Wreck Island.Zaroff has abandoned hunting animals because he finds no challenge in hunting them anymore. According to Zaroff an animal's instinct for survival is no challange to a one man killing machine like him.Zaroff wants an animal that can reason. This, of course, means human beings. 

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The Most Dangerous Game

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