What are the main conflicts in "The Most Dangerous Game"?  

Quick Answer

Sanger Rainsford experiences two major conflicts in “The Most Dangerous Game.” Rainsford experiences a man vs man conflict as he struggles to survive and beat General Zaroff at his hunting “game.” Rainsford also experiences man vs self conflict as he is forced to reconsider his stance on the morality of taking a life.

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator


The two most important conflicts in "The Most Dangerous Game" are Man vs. Man and Man vs. Nature.

Man vs. Man is a clear conflict. Rainsford and General Zaroff are fighting for different goals, Zaroff for fun and amusement and Rainsford for survival and escape. Throughout the story, they clash on philosophy and morality, and in physical dispute. Rainsford is victorious at the end because he has nothing to lose; he is willing to risk his life to win over Zaroff.

Man vs. Nature is somewhat more subtle. As Rainsford flees into the jungle, he uses his knowledge of hunting to lay false trails and traps. However, the jungle is also his enemy, having natural obstacles of its own:

The ground grew softer under his moccasins; the vegetation grew ranker, denser; insects bit him savagely.

Then, as he stepped forward, his foot sank into the ooze.
(Connel, "The Most Dangerous Game, fiction.eserver.org)

With high rocky cliffs and water all around, there are only a few places where Rainsford can flee. He manages to use some of the island's landscape to his advantage, digging a pit in the soft earth and setting a deadfall, but it is only his willingness to fully accept the danger of the crashing waves that gives him an edge over Zaroff.


gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. self are the three conflicts that occur throughout Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game." The first conflict, man vs. man, is illustrated in Rainsford's attempt to outrun and outwit the skilled General Zaroff. General Zaroff presents the three-day survival challenge, and Rainsford is forced to rely on his skills to successfully hide throughout the island to save his life. Man vs. nature occurs in Rainsford's struggle against the natural elements of Ship-Trap Island. Rainsford must traverse the dangerous terrain of the island to avoid Zaroff, which includes dense forests, the Death Swamp, and rocky cliffs near the exterior of the island. The final conflict presented throughout the story is man vs. self. Rainsford struggles with the fear and shock of being hunted by General Zaroff on a dangerous island. Rainsford must challenge himself both intellectually and physically to avoid General Zaroff and win the "most dangerous game."   

audall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are both  external and internal conflicts in "The Most Dangerous Game."  .

The external conflicts are:

Man against Nature: Rainsford struggles against the sea after he falls from the yacht until he reaches the island.

Man against Man:  Rainsfor struggles against Count Zaroff as he plays the most dangerous game.


The internal conflict:

Man against himself: Rainsford struggles with his will to continue through the game.  He encourages and motivates himself until he ultimately wins the game.

hamada95 | Student

The conflict in this story is a war like game that the only end of it will occur on the deaths of one of the two main charecters, One of them is a peaceful man whose job is hunting animals while the other is a murderer who hunts nothing except humans after training them he forces them to enter a hunting game with him, Otherwise they will be killed by his gigantic servent, Eventually the peaceful man who represents the good side of this story wins the game by killing the hunter in a tricky way, Saving his life and learning a new lesson about (rules of hunting)