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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell
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What is Rainsford's attitude towards the hunter and the hunted in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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Rainsford's attitude toward the hunter and the hunted changes as the narrative develops.

In the exposition of "The Most Dangerous Game," as they travel through the "moonless Caribbean night," Rainsford talks with his friend Whitney with whom he intends to hunt jaguar. Whitney muses on how the jaguar must feel when it, a predator, finds itself hunted. Rainsford dismisses Whitney's sympathy for the jaguar, "Bah! They've no understanding." But Whitney maintains that surely the animal understands the fear of death.

"Nonsense," laughed Rainsford. "....Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters...."

Of course, the irony of this statement is that Rainsford himself later becomes a predator-turned-prey just as the jaguar does. Moreover, he learns the error of his declaration to Whitney that prey do not understand the threat of death because he later declares to Zaroff in their final confrontation, "I am still a beast at bay." Clearly, Rainsford has changed his opinion on the feelings of the hunted as he has learned how an animal at bay feels since he has been pursued by a predator and must fearfully hide in a tree. Furthermore, he later must flee pursuing hounds, and in order to escape, he risks a dangerous leap far out into the sea as the only hope of saving himself.



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