What is the evidence that Rainsford considers Zaroff to be civilized?  

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Rainsford first meets General Zaroff, and during the dinner they share together the first night on the island, he is very much impressed with the General's appearance, manners, and sophistication. It seems Rainsford finds the General civilized until he learns the truth about the game which Zaroff plays on his island. Mostly, Rainsford notes that the General surrounds himself with the finest accoutrements of a gentleman.

There are three early hints of Rainsford's favorable impression of the General's civilized surroundings and demeanor. First, he comments that Zaroff provides him with the finest clothes made by one of the best tailors in London, who also supplied English royalty. Second, he is impressed by the "table appointments" which "were of the finest—the linen, the crystal, the silver, the china." Third, he compliments the General on being "a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite," which seems to suggest the General would be comfortable in the most cultivated of settings. Right after this observation, however, Rainsford describes the way in which Zaroff makes him uncomfortable by coldly examining him, "appraising him narrowly." This proves to be foreshadowing as the General is sizing up Rainsford for later events. One of the major ironies of "The Most Dangerous Game" is that Zaroff appears to be quite civilized. He even reads the works of the great Roman philosopher of ethics, Marcus Aurelius. But, despite this air of the "cosmopolite," Zaroff is in reality a sociopathic murderer.

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The Most Dangerous Game

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