Zaroff is considered to be a very cultured gentleman. Rainsford, however, not only judges him by what he says, but how he dresses and acts. Zaroff knows the correct things to say. After all, he was the son of a very rich man who owned a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea. When he first meets Rainsford, he greets him with....
"It is a very great pleasure and honor to welcome Mr. Sanger Rainsford, the celebrated hunter, to my home." (Internet copy pg 3)
Zaroff has a man servant named Ivan. When Rainsford arrives, Zaroff offers his hospitality. He tells Rainsford,
"We do our best to maintain the amenities of civilization here. Please forgive any lapses. We are well off the beaten track, you know. Do you think the champagne has suffered from its long ocean voyage." (Internet copy pg 4)
Zaroff is also highly intelligent and well read. He can speak numerous languages. He tells Rainsford,
"I read all books on hunting published in English, French, and Russian." (Internet copy page 4)
When Rainsford reacts with shock and disbelief to the fact that Zaroff hunts humans, Zaroff replies,
"I refuse to believe that so modern and civilized a young man as you seem to be harbors romantic ideas about the value of human life. Surely, your experiences during the war....." (Internet copy pg 6)
When Rainsford continues to state that it is not hunting, it is murder, Zaroff says,
"How extraordinarily droll you are!....One does not expect nowadays to find a young man of the educated class, even in America, with such a naive, and, if I may say so, mid-Victorian point of view. It's like finding a snuffbox in a limousine. Ah, well, doubtless you had Puritan ancestors....."( Internet copy pg 6)
Zaroff explains that if the men he hunts refuse to take part in the game, he hands them over to Ivan.
"Ivan once had the honor of serving as official knouter to the Great White Czar...." (Internet copy pg 6)
The official knouter was a position in Russia. This person whipped people who were to be punished. The Great White Czar was the ruler of a certain part of Russia.
When he tells Rainsford that he is going to hunt him. He tells him,
"This is really an inspiration. I drink to a foeman worthy of my steel -- at last." (Intermet copy pg 8)
When he outlines the rules of the game, he tells Rainsford that he cannot tell anyone on the mainland what is happening on the island. Rainsford refuses, at which time Zaroff says,
"Three days hence we will discuss it over a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, unless...." (Internet copy page 9)
When Zaroff finds Rainsford in his room after the hunt, he knows that it will be a fight to the death. He says,
"Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford..." (Internet copy page 11)
The mention of the words "On Guard" indicate that it would be a sword fight. Sword fighting was an honorable way to defeat a foe in the upper classes.