To what extent does the author use descriptions of Zaroff’s looks to define his character? from the story of "The Most Dangerous Game"

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schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Zaroff wants to be known as a sophisticated, well-educated, cultured gentleman.  Therefore, he dresses and acts the part.  When Rainsford first meets Zaroff,  it is evening and Zaroff is dressed in evening clothes for dinner.  Described as  erect, slender  and with a cultivated voice, the author hints at upper class society, which is later confirmed with he told of his father,

 "a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea" (pg 5),

 which he later lost due to the debacle of Russia.  The author further describes Zaroff  as past middle age with vivid white hair,  thick black eyebrows and a pointed military mustache, high cheekbones, sharpcut nose, dark eyes , and a spare, dark face.  He remarks that he had the face of

“a man used to giving orders, the face of an aristocrat”. (pg 3) 

 Zaroff loans Rainsford clothes to wear that first night, and Rainsford notices that they were made by a London tailor  and

“sewed for none below the rank of duke”.  (pg 4). 

He carried a gold cigarette case and offered cigarettes with a silver tip and a strong smell of incense.   The next morning, the author says that he was

“dressed faultlessly in the tweed of a country squire.”  (pg 8) 

 He tells Rainsford that

 “We try to be civilized here.” (pg 7)

which is ironic, considering the quarry he hunts every night.

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The Most Dangerous Game

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