The most compelling lesson to be learned here is caution. Not all people can be trusted. Unfortunately, given today's news programs, that lesson is even more evident than when this story was first published.
Rainsford is in trouble. His boat has problems. At first glance, Zaroff is just the right sort of person to rescue him--strong, capable, and surviving on this island alone. At second long look, we discover that he is cruel and sadistic--he enjoys watching others suffer for his own entertainment.
The story is for entertainment, much like any thriller we might read from Stephen King. However, on closer reading the author may be cautioning us to service our vehicles and fully indicate our travel itineraries to loved ones before setting off on a journey.
Richard Connell was a seasoned writer by the time he wrote The Most Dangerous Game. His references to World War I were also based on his own personal experience because he did serve France during the war. Perhaps some of that experience sparked some of his hunting ideas in the story. This is by far his most remembered work and while it is not entirely well written, it is a memorable story full of fantastic examples of plot, setting, and imagery. He really had no defined purpose other than to tell a great short story and the concept behind it has intrigued movie makers and other story tellers because the idea of hunting humans tends to intrigue us to no end.
Perhaps one might say that the purpose could be to illustrate the concept of the hunted and the hunter because for Rainsford the concept completely changes throughout the story. He learns first hand what it is to feel the fear of being hunted and it changes his feelings at the beginning of the story where he tells his friend Whitney, "Nonsense. This hot weather is making you soft, Whitney. Be a realist. The world is made up of two classes- the hunters and the huntees. Luckily you and I are the hunters." Rainsford learns, as the story unfolds, that there may be some gray area when it comes to what the world is made up of.
what made the most dangerous game frightening, or was it at all?