In The Most Dangerous Game, what is the importance of Zaroff/Ivans's past as it relates to the development and/or playing of the "game"?They are both Cossack, from Russia and all, but how does it...

In The Most Dangerous Game, what is the importance of Zaroff/Ivans's past as it relates to the development and/or playing of the "game"?

They are both Cossack, from Russia and all, but how does it relate to Zaroff's game?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that it relates because of the reputation of the Cossacks and of Russians in general.

This story was first published in 1924.  At that time, Russia had very recently been an absolute monarchy.  The Russian rulers and aristocrats had a reputation for being extremely tyrannical and inhumane.  Therefore, it would make sense to have the bad guy be a Russian noble.

The Cossacks were seen as a brutal group of people.  They were descended from nomads from Central Asia and had a reputation for being ruthless.

So, given the prejudices of those days, people would have felt that Russians and Cossacks would be likely to behave in the way that Zaroff and Ivan do.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous post is quite accurate, but I should add that it appears Zaroff and Ivan were two Cossacks from the opposite social realms during their life in Russia. Zaroff came from a wealthy family, and his powerful father provided him with all the necessities of life. This explains his life of luxury on the mysterious island. Ivan had apparently served under the general and more than likely did not grow up under the same circumstances as Zaroff. Both had no qualms about taking a human life, however. Zaroff's love of hunting and his previous military experience combined to make him the bloodthirsty killer who found Rainsford a perfect subject for his special hunt. 

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The Most Dangerous Game

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