What is the most dominant (important) conflict in the story, physical, moral, intellectual, or spiritual conflict?  Why?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the most dominant conflict in the story is a moral conflict Rainsford deals with from the beginning.

Before Rainsford falls into the water, he talks with Whitney about if a jaguar having feelings.

Then pages later, Rainsford is put into the jaguar's position, but Rainsford is human. Now, the moral question of the value of human life arises. Is it okay to hunt man because of the challenge? CERTAINLY NOT! Thus, Rainsford has to deal with this first intellectually, then as Zaroff's prey. Ultimately, he ends up taking Zaroff's life because his only option of life is essentially taking Zaroff's

During the hunt of Rainsford, the conflict clearly centers on the intellectual and physical capacities to carry out 'the game.' However, the reality or truth or lesson of the entire piece is to take a look at the morality of human life. It is necessary to evaluate this story as a story, but then apply it to those things that we do to each other to destroy each other.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that the conflict in this story is partly intellectual and partly physical.  When I say this, I am talking about the conflict between Rainsford and Zaroff.

The conflict is intellectual because Rainsford must avoid Zaroff and his dogs while trying to kill them if he can.  This is what we might call a "battle of wits."

The conflict is also physical because so much of what Rainsford must do is physical.  He must run fast enough and hide well enough to elude his pursuers.

So there is a little bit of each of those two kinds of conflict in this story.

Read the study guide:
The Most Dangerous Game

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