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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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What is the significance of the following passage in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Watch! Out there! Exclaimed the general, pointing into the night. Rainsford's eyes saw only blackness, and then, as the general pressed a button, far out to sea Rainsford saw the flash of lights.


The general chuckled. "They indicate a channel," he said "where there's none: giant rocks with razor edges crouch like sea monster with wide open jaws. They can crush a ship as easily as I crush this nut."

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This passage is significant because it shows how diabolical and clever the general has been.  He does not see anything wrong with tricking ships so that they get crushed on the rocks.  He thinks of no one but himself.  He is only interested in getting more sport for his game, as “he captures the shipwrecked sailors and forces them to play his game or be tortured and killed by Ivan” (enotes, The Most Dangerous Game, characters).

This is also when Rainsford realizes exactly what he is dealing with.  When Zaroff comments that he has electricity and they try to be civilized, the irony is not lost on Rainsford.

"Civilized? And you shoot down men?" (p. 10)

Rainsford, who “believes Zaroff's sport to be brutal and Zaroff himself to be a murderer” (enotes, characters), is playing with fire.  His captor Zaroff is annoyed when Rainsford suggests he is not playing fair.

I assure you I do not do the thing you suggest. That would be barbarous. I treat these visitors with every consideration. They get plenty of good food and exercise. They get into splendid physical condition. You shall see for yourself tomorrow. (p. 10)

Notice that Zaroff is not offended by being called a murderer.  He is offended by being called a bad sport.  Hunting humans is not a problem for Zaroff.  Although Rainsford could just play along and say he thinks it’s a fantastic game, he does not.  So this passage shows quite a lot about both men.

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Connell, Richard E. "The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell." The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell @ Classic Reader. Web. 14 May 2012. <>.

Enotes. "The Most Dangerous Game." Web. 14 May 2012. <>.

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