What are some adjectives that describe Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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Sanger Rainsford is the protagonist in the short story, "The Most Dangerous Game." He goes from professional hunter to helpless huntee after a boating accident which leaves him stranded on the infamous Ship-Trap island. Here we see Rainsford's true colors shine in the fight for his life.

  • Cocky: At the beginning of this tale, Rainsford could be described as cocky and somewhat selfish. He knows he is a skilled hunter and has no compassion for the animals he hunts. However, he quickly becomes humbled by Zaroff's proposal and learns what it feels like to become the helpless victim of the hunter.
  • Courageous: It's not that Rainsford isn't scared; he simply doesn't let his fear get the best of him. No matter what is thrown at him—dark waters, murderous General, fight of his life—Rainsford doesn't back down from a challenge which also shows his competitive nature.
  • Clever: Throughout the story, Rainsford shows he isn't just intelligent. He understands how to use his experience to help him succeed in the present. From swimming to shore in the darkened waters to setting up boobytraps in the hunt with General Zaroff, Rainsford outwits his surroundings and his predators by being resourceful.
  • Strong: While it's clear Rainsford is mentally tough, his physical strength saves his life. His body gets him to shore twice, keeps him alive with minimal food, and helps him set traps and climbs trees to keep him safe.
  • Adaptable: No matter what is thrown at him, Rainsford is able to adapt without a struggle. He thrives on his yacht the same way he thrives on the island. While two completely different situations, Rainsford can be considered a chameleon, changing his colors to suit whatever background he encounters.
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When Rainsford first goes overboard, he does not panic because he is used to being in difficult situations. He is described as having a "coolheadedness" kick in.

Once he reaches the island, "determined" would be an appropriate description as he assesses his new surroundings. Throughout, as he navigates the various perils of the hunt, he is consistently "resourceful."

While the general is talking about game, Rainsford listens attentively. After he learns the truth, his attitude would be called "incredulous."

After he takes off into the bush, he applies himself to surviving. "Gritty" and "strategic" would apply in this regard. When he suspects the general is toying with him, he vows not to lose his nerve. He could be called "resolute."

As he manages to evade death and win the game, he is certainly "triumphant." And as he lords it over the defeated general, he is definitely "smug."

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Skilled: Sanger Rainsford is a highly talented hunter who ends up defeating the maniacal General Zaroff in the most dangerous game.

Intelligent: Rainsford demonstrates his knowledge of numerous hunting and survival skills while he avoids General Zaroff in the wilderness. He also recalls how to fashion several traps to slow down the general.

Experienced: Rainsford has hunted all over the world, has killed numerous exotic animals, and has even published books on his hunting expeditions.

Resourceful: During the most dangerous game, Rainsford makes several deadly traps using limited resources.

Competitive: Rainsford refuses to lose the most dangerous game and takes extreme risks in order to defeat the general.

Civilized: After Rainsford initially discovers that General Zaroff hunts humans on his island, he is completely disgusted and calls the general a maniacal murderer.

Composed: While Rainsford is being hunted by the general, he demonstrates his ability to calm himself and think rationally during the highly stressful situation.

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