What are ten characteristics of General Zaroff?  

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

General Zaroff, the antagonist in Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game," should be considered a "static" character because he never changes over the course of the story. He is, however, a "round" character because he has several distinguishing characteristics:

  • astute: Zaroff is quite capable of accurately assessing people and situations. When he is dining with Rainsford he seems to be sizing up his guest.
  • narcissistic: Zaroff has an obsessive interest in himself as judged by his conversation where he basically discusses his life and his passion for hunting.
  • sociopathic: Zaroff has a mental disorder which is displayed in his anti-social behavior and lack of conscience. He finds it perfectly just that he is able to hunt men.
  • shrewd: When Zaroff escaped Russia after the revolution he was smart enough to invest in American securities so he could sustain his lavish lifestyle.
  • educated: Zaroff is well-read with a large library including every book on hunting, and he is portrayed as reading the works of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius toward the end of the story.
  • cosmopolitan: Rainsford notes that Zaroff was a "cosmopolite" because he was quite sophisticated in his clothes, from the finest tailor in London, and in the fine furnishings of his chateau, procured from all over the world. 
  • skilled: Zaroff has grown to be a skilled hunter, so much so that animals posed no challenge and so he began hunting men. He seems to easily track Rainsford over the most difficult of trails.
  • barbaric: In his diabolical practice of hunting down men, Zaroff is truly a barbarian. It is ironic that such a cultured and educated man would resort to such barbarism.
  • godlike: Zaroff holds the power of life and death over the men he hunts and so has become like a god.
  • passionate: Above all, Zaroff is passionate about his hunting. He could not abide his growing boredom with the sport, so he went to great lengths to produce a new type of hunting.