What are some adjectives describing Zaroff? 

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Physically, Zaroff is tall, handsome, middle-aged, and slender.  However, it is the other aspects of Zaroff that are interesting.  I am quoting from the story off the internet, so the page numbers I am using are from that copy.  The adjectives are bolded.

First of all, Zaroff is rich.  His father had been rich in Russia, but Zaroff had to leave that country and lost everything.  However,

“I, luckily had invested heavily in American securities, so I never have to open a tearoom in Monte Carlo or drive a taxi in Paris.” (pg 4)

He also lives in a mansion on an island.  Rainsford  observed

  “It suggested a baronial hall of feudal times with its oaken panels, its high ceiling, its vast  refectory tables where twoscore (40 people) men could sit down and eat. “ (pg 3)

Zaroff is also cultured and cosmopolitan, which means that he could represent many different parts of the world.  He is an expert on wines, foods, and the finer things in life.  When Rainsford is escorted to his room, he finds an evening suit laid out for him and “noticed that it came from a London tailor who ordinarily cut and sewed for none below the rank of duke.” (pg 3)

Rainsford wonders how Zaroff recognizes his name. Zaroff shows that he is well-read and multi-lingual when he explains to Rainsford ,

  “I read all books on hunting published in English, French, and Russian.” (pg 4)

The fact that he is bored, has stimulated his interest in hunting men.  He no longer finds hunting animals exhilarating.

                “Hunting has ceased to be what you call ‘a sporting proposition’.  It had become too easy.  I always got my quarry.  Alwys.  There is no greater bore than perfection.” (pg 4)

  This boredom led him to start hunting mankind, and makes Zaroff immoral.  He does not care for the lives of the people he hunts.   He criticizes Rainsford for harboring,

                “…. romantic ideas about the value of a human life.”  (pg 5)

Finally, because Zaroff has spent so many years hunting, he has become very observant and analytical. He explains to Rainsford,

  “….mine is an analytical mind, Mr. Rainsford.  Doubtless that is why I enjoy the problems of the chase.” (pg 4)

When they are in the hunt, Rainsford notices that,

                “Nothing escaped those searching black eyes, no crushed blade of grass, no bent twig, no  mark, no matter how faint, in the moss.” (pg 8)

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There are two ways to answer this question.  First, we can give examples from the text.  In other words, we can give Rainsford's perspective. Second, we can give a reader's perspective. I will give both.

From Rainsford's point of view, general Zaroff was an odd combination of characteristics.  On the one hand, he was handsome, sophisticated, an affable host, and an intelligent man.  For example, Zaroff knew about fine foods, wines, and hunting.  He also spoke many languages.  On the other hand, Zaroff was also odd and a cold-blooded murderer. For example, Rainsford noticed that the general studied him, which made him feel uncomfortable.  Later, Rainsford realized that Zaroff was insane, as he hunted humans.  Here are some quotes:

"Not in the least," declared Rainsford. He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite.

"Hunting? Great Guns, General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder."

From a reader's point of view, Zaroff is a complex figure. The adjective that comes to mind is sociopathic.  Many of the qualities that sociopathic people posses can be found in Zaroff - superficial charm, lack of remorse, and antisocial behavior.  



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