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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell
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What do you think happens to Zaroff? What are some possible endings for the story?

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At the end of the short story "The Most Dangerous Game," Rainsford is able to avoid General Zaroff and sneaks into his chamber. While General Zaroff is looking out his window at his dogs, Rainsford jumps out from behind his curtains and surprises Zaroff. Zaroff immediately congratulates Rainsford for...

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At the end of the short story "The Most Dangerous Game," Rainsford is able to avoid General Zaroff and sneaks into his chamber. While General Zaroff is looking out his window at his dogs, Rainsford jumps out from behind his curtains and surprises Zaroff. Zaroff immediately congratulates Rainsford for surviving the three days on Ship-Trap Island, but Rainsford responds by saying,

"I am still a beast at bay. . . Get ready, General Zaroff" (Connell, 15).

Essentially, Rainsford is telling Zaroff that he is still on his guard and willing to defend himself even though the "game" is finished. General Zaroff then bows to accept Rainsford's challenge, and the two face off against each other. Connell does not illustrate the ensuing battle between the two characters, but the reader does know that Rainsford has defeated General Zaroff by writing, "He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided" (15). It is implied that Rainsford killed Zaroff in the one-on-one fight. There are several possibilities as to what Rainsford decides to do after he kills General Zaroff. He may continue living on the island and take Zaroff's place, or Rainsford could decide to leave the island and return to civilization. Rainsford more than likely stayed there a few more days before leaving the island permanently.

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The reader is to assume that Rainsford kills General Zaroff. At the end of the story when Zaroff enters his sleeping chambers and finds Rainsford, he congratulates Rainsford and tells him that he has won the game. Rainsford, however, informs Zaroff that the game is not over, that he "is still a beast at bay." General Zaroff does not seem surprised, in fact, he is delighted that Rainsford is still up for a challenge. Zaroff tells Rainsford that "One of [them] is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed." The last line of the story is "He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided." This lets the reader know that Rainsford has killed General Zaroff.

One possible ending is that Rainsford decides to take Zaroff's place and continue hunting his newfound quarry. Another ending could be that the good in Rainsford keeps him from continuing Zaroff's sadistic game, and he releases the prisoners and finds a way off the island.

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