Both Rainsford and General Zaroff are experienced hunters who have an affinity for adventure and hunting dangerous prey. Both characters enjoy literature, which is evident from the general's massive book collection and from the fact that Rainsford has several published works on hunting. Rainsford and General Zaroff are also both extremely competitive individuals, who struggle against each other in the hunt that ensues in the story.
Despite their many similarities, Rainsford is a sane, civilized man, while General Zaroff is a fanatical, insensitive murderer. Zaroff completely dismisses the worth of a human life and does not abide by society's laws and regulations on Ship-Trap Island, where he creates a terrifying environment for those shipwrecked on it. While Rainsford is an avid hunter and thoroughly enjoys the sport, the general's affinity for hunting is fanatical. When Zaroff started to become bored with his favorite sport, he simply decided to hunt humans, which emphasizes his insanity and suggests that he may be a sociopath.