In what ways are Zaroff and Rainsford similar and different in The Most Dangerous Game?

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lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Rainford and Zaroff have more in common than Rainsford would probably want to admit, but they are different in one important way. 

As the story opens. Whitney and Rainsford are having a conversation about hunting.  Rainsford agrees that it is "the best sport in the world."  But when Whitney points out that it is great sport for the hunter and not for the jaguar, Rainsford responds:

The world is made up of two classes -the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters.

When Rainsford encouters Zaroff, Zaroff says,

I have but one passion in my life, Mr. Rainsford, and it is the hunt.

So we know that Zaroff and Rainsford love the thrill of the hunt.  But that is where they part company.

As we read along, we learn that Zaroff and Rainsford do not agree on what constitutes "fair game."  Zaroff hunts men, and this is where Rainsford draws the line, calling Zaroff's action "murder."  He declines to take part in a hunt with Zaroff, not realizing, of course, that he is to be huntee, not the hunter. 

I have often wondered whether Rainsford, after the story ends, decides to stop hunting.  Does he gain any insight into the feelings of the hunted as a result of his experience, or does he continue to believe that his hunting is moral?  What do you think? 


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brandih | eNotes Employee

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