Why didn't Rainsford spare Zaroff's life?  

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that there are at least two possible answers.  You can pick which one you like better based on your reading of what kind of a man Rainsford is.

The first possible reason is that Rainsford is sort of executing Zaroff for all his crimes.  Zaroff has confessed that he is, in essence, a mass murderer.  Since he has, you can argue that he deserves to die and that Rainsford is just taking justice into his own hands.

A second possible reason is that Rainsford wants to take over Zaroff's hunting operation.  Remember that he is a great hunter and might share some of Zaroff's attitudes.  He might have realized that hunting people would be a lot more fun than hunting animals.  Maybe that is why he finds Zaroff's bed so comfortable -- maybe that's a metaphor for him wanting to step in and take Zaroff's place as the hunter.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rainsford is the true hunter. He certainly did not like being on the side of the prey, but he can't escape his true identity. I think after he learned what Zaroff did, he wanted Zaroff to die whether by his hand or another way.

Likewise, Rainsford was still playing the game. The game was essentially a fight to the death between two men. Rainsford had legitimately outsmarted Zaroff for 3 days, although on the first day Zaroff had extended him grace. That extention just served to further the complications of the rising action. If Rainsford did not kill Zaroff, I do not honestly believe that Zaroff would have let him off the island alive to go and tell the authorities what Zaroff does. Zaroff is smarter than that. The way I see it, Rainsford had no choice.


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The Most Dangerous Game

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