What is the rising action of "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the plot, or sequence of happenings in a literary work, the exposition, or beginning of the story, is part of the rising action, during which there is often a complication, or problem. This is a point at which the protagonist, or central character, meets some opposition, or conflict.

Therefore, in "The Most Dangerous Game," during the exposition Whitney and Rainsford discuss hunting; Whitney feels some sympathy for the prey, contending that they understand fear, "[T]he fear of pain and the fear of death," an observation that foreshadows the experiences of Rainsford to come. Rainsford, however, disagrees and bids his friend goodnight while he remains on deck. When he hears three shots, Rainsford rushes to the rail of the boat, but loses his pipe. As he struggles to catch it, he falls overboard.

In the rising action, Rainsford swims ashore and collapses. The next day he discovered a trail made by hunting boots and follows it where he finally sees the "shadowy outlines of a palatial chateau...set on a high bluff." He introduces himself to the occupants, one of whom has menacing eyes and is dressed in a black uniform. The other man, General Zaroff, is handsome but possesses "an original, almost bizarre quality" about his face.

At dinner, Rainsford converses with the general about hunting; the general informs him,

"I hunt more dangerous game....I live for danger, Mr. Rainsford.....I have done a rare thing. I have invented a new sensation."

Rainsford senses that there is something bizarre about the general. This recognition is the beginning of the complication. For, he and General Zaroff have a strong disagreement about "the ideal quarry." For, Zaroff hunts men, and Rainsford finds this action "cold-blooded murder." Thus begins the opposition of Zaroff as the antagonist and Rainsford as the protagonist. This conflict between Rainsford as the prey and Zaroff as the hunter continues until it reaches the climax of the duel between the two men. Therefore, the rising action of "The Most Dangerous Game" continues through most of the narrative.

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