What are some character traits of the main characters in "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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To me, the only two characters in this story that have any real personality are Rainsord and General Zaroff.

Zaroff is a very cold man.  He must be so in order to hunt human beings.  Another very important part of his personality, though, is the way he sees himself.  Although he is brutal, he sees himself as a very sophisticated and civilized man.

I would say that Rainsford's most important qualities are his resourcefulness and his courage.  Even though he almost ends up in despair while he is being hunted, he keeps his nerve in a very trying set of circumstances.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In his famous story, "The Most Dangerous Game," Richard Connell creates two fascinating characters in General Zaroff and Rainsford.  The main difference between these two characters is the fact that while General Zaroff is candid about himself and realizes what he is, Rainsford is deluded.  For, in the exposition of Connell's narrative, Rainsford is unconcerned about the feelings of any prey that he goes after.  Later, after he is captured, Rainsford is appalled at Zaroff's preference for his "new sensation," the hunting of men.  When Zaroff suggests that Rainsford is not unlike him since he had "experiences in the war," Rainsford, stiffly replies,

'Did not make me condone cold-blooded murder.'

The irony, of course, is that in the rising action and climax Rainsford come to understand what it means to be a beast at bay--"he knew now how an animal at bay feels"--and in the denouement of the story, he becomes the cold-blooded hunter of a man, Zaroff, whom he kills.  Without compunction, Rainsford decides afterwards that "he had never slept in a better bed."