On what simple ironic reversal is the plot of "The Most Dangerous Game" based?  Specifically.

2 Answers

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The plot of Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" is based on the role reversal of man and beast. General Zaroff, a former Cossack cavalryman who has grown bored of hunting big game, has come up with a new and more dangerous game: the hunting of the most dangerous of all prey--human beings. Zaroff has relocated to a desolate island in the Caribbean where he deliberately causes ships to crash upon an unmarked reef, using the shipwrecked sailors as the victims of his future hunts. By the time Rainsford arrives, Zaroff has already become bored with the simple sailors who offer the general little more stimulation than big game animals. Zaroff sees that Rainsford will be a worthy prey, and the Russian forces Rainsford to flee for his life--with Zaroff hot on his trail. A final reversal of roles occurs during the surprising climax, when Rainsford and Zaroff trade places--Rainsford as the hunter and Zaroff as the hunted.

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would say that the one simple ironic reversal on which the plot of "The Most Dangerous Game" is based is that the hunter becomes the hunted. Famous big-game hunter Sanford Rainsford, who has killed every kind of dangerous animal in the world, suddenly finds himself in the position of a hunted animal. Fortunately for him, he is a dangerous animal himself because he possesses intelligence and survival experience. When he succeeds to escaping from Zaroff and figuratively reversing roles with him, that may be an ironic reversal, but it does not seem as important because Zaroff is not fleeing and Rainsford is not tracking him. Rainsford knows right where to find Zaroff and is lying in wait for him. As Rainsford says, "I am still a beast at bay." Rainsford is still the hunted one until he settles with the hunter. He can't trust Zaroff to set him free. Why should anybody trust Zaroff?