What does General Zaroff stand for in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

General Zaroff is a man who stands outside the moral code. Having created his own world on Ship-Trip Island, Zaroff controls all that is in his environment. After Rainsford is found and brought to Zaroff's chateau, the general expounds at dinner on his raison d'etre:  "I live for danger." He continues, telling Rainsford that the weak of the world are on earth to provide pleasure for the strong:

If I wish to hunt, why should I not? I hunt the scum of the earth--sailors from tramp ships--lascars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels--a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them.

When Rainsford objects, Zaroff ridicules his "Victorian," or prudish, thinking. "Dear me, what a righteous young man you are!" Then, he informs Rainsford that he cannot leave the island, "I drink to a foeman worthy of my steel--at last." Zaroff anticipates eagerly his new prey without compunction.

amysor | Student

General Zaroff stands for a challenge, specifically in hunting. General Zaroff is a man who loves a challenge! He has defiantly showing that through is hunting experiences. He has gone all over the world, and hunted so much, to the point where it no longer poses a challenge. This is evident in the story where General Zaroff says

"No animal had a chance with me any more. That is no boast; it is a mathematical certainty. The animal had nothing but his legs and his instinct. Instinct is no match for reason. When I thought of this it was a tragic moment for me, I can tell you." 

This leads General Zaroff to resort to hunting a animal that has the same qualities as him, which of course, is a human! 

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The Most Dangerous Game

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