What is the resolution of Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game"?
The resolution for any story comes after the climax. The climax answers how the major conflict is decided. For example, in Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game," the primary conflict is between Zaroff and Rainsford. The climax answers the question of who wins the most dangerous game. Since this game is a hunting battle using wit and skill between two expert hunters, then the climax occurs when the reader finds out who wins. The final battle begins when Rainsford enters General Zaroff's room and declares that he is not through with the game. General Zaroff recognizes what Rainsford means when he says the following:
"Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford."
The author does not give details of the final battle. He leaves those details up to the reader's imagination. However, Connell provides one sentence that includes both the outcome of the climactic battle and the resolution as follows:
"He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided."
With one sentence, Connell supplies the reader with the results of the final battle, which is the climax, and the resolution, which is the fact that Rainsford is still alive after the fight and sleeps in the "excellent bed" that night. No other information is provided about the resolution other than the fact that Rainsford gets to sleep in Zaroff's bed that night. One might speculate that maybe Rainsford takes over Zaroff's estate and assumes the role of the hunter on the island. On the other hand, Rainsford could use the resources found on the island to help him get back home. Either way, none of this information is provided by the author, and the reader is left to wonder what Rainsford will do the next morning.
The resolution is the story's final sentence: "He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided." That sentence tells us that Rainsford defeated General Zaroff in their final confrontation. Before they battle, they agree that one "is to furnish a repast [meal] for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed."
Learning that Rainsford slept in the bed tells us all we need to know. Throughout the story, we read to determine who will win, and in the very last sentence, Connell provides the answer.
The Most Dangerous Game is a story that explores power and survival. In these circumstances, a resolution becomes very, very basic. What is one willing to do to survive? Where does "right and wrong" belong in basic survival? In what ways must humans act in order to elevate themselves above predator and prey? I'm not sure there was a resolution to this story. The ending indicates to all who are thoughtful readers that the responsibility for humanity lies in action rather than reaction.