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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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An analysis of General Zaroff's experiences, appearance, personality, and symbolic representation in "The Most Dangerous Game."

Summary:

General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game" is depicted as an expert hunter with extensive experience, having hunted since childhood. Bored with hunting animals, he turns to hunting humans, revealing his contempt for humanity. Physically, he's a tall, slender, middle-aged man with a bizarrely handsome face. Despite his refined tastes and courteous demeanor, Zaroff is a fanatical, malevolent murderer who enjoys hunting humans.

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What experiences has Zaroff had as a hunter and what does he reveal about his character in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is an expert hunter with many years of experience. He's been hunting ever since he was knee high to a grasshopper. His rich father owned a million acres in the Crimea, which was fertile ground for hunting. A keen sportsman, Zaroff's father gave his son a specially made rifle when he was just five years old. From the very first time he had a gun in his hand, Zaroff felt like he was born to hunt. From shooting his father's prize turkeys, he quickly moved on to much bigger game, hunting bears in the Caucasus when he was only ten.

As Zaroff tells Rainsford, his whole life has been one long hunt. However, there's just one problem. Zaroff's become a little bored with hunting animals; he craves the much more interesting challenge of hunting human quarry instead. Having hunted every kind of animal you can think of, in every corner of the globe, Zaroff has come to find that hunting is no longer a sporting proposition, as he calls it; it's just too easy.

So he turns his attention to Rainsford instead, seeing him as his next trophy. As well as showing us that Zaroff is completely bored with life, his desire to hunt humans reveals a fundamental contempt for humanity. This is someone who sees human beings as little more than animals; higher animals, to be sure, but animals all the same.

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Describe General Zaroff's appearance and personality in "The Most Dangerous Game."

The narrator describes Zaroff's physical appearance when Rainsford first sees the general descend the marble stairs of his extravagant chateau. General Zaroff is depicted as a tall, slender, middle-aged man with white hair. The narrator mentions that Zaroff is "singularly handsome" with a "bizarre quality" about his face. General Zaroff has dark eyes with thick eyebrows, high cheekbones, a sharpcut nose, and a black mustache. Rainsford also believes that the general resembles an aristocrat. As Rainsford and General Zaroff begin to eat their meal, Zaroff slowly reveals his affinity for hunting humans, which is appalling to Rainsford. Although Zaroff is a talented, fanatical hunter, he also enjoys the finer things in life. He is an avid reader, a collector of fine wines, and he enjoys many modern amenities throughout his exclusive chateau on Ship-Trap Island. He is also relatively hospitable and courteous to Rainsford, despite the fact that he plans on hunting him. Zaroff sees himself as a Renaissance man who does not harbor "romantic ideas about the value of human life." Underneath General Zaroff's air of civility and cultured personality, he is a fanatical, malevolent murderer who enjoys hunting defenseless humans.

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Describe General Zaroff's appearance and personality in "The Most Dangerous Game."

Although we know little about Sanger Rainsford's physical appearance, we do know that General Zaroff

was a tall man past middle age, for his hair was a vivid white; but his thick eyebrows and pointed military mustache were as black as night...

Rainsford describes Zaroff as "singularly handsome" with a "bizarre quality" to his face. His eyes were also black, and he presented an "aristocratic" bearing with his 

high cheekbones, a sharpcut nose, a spare, dark face...

When Zaroff smiled, he bore red lips and "pointed" teeth that often included a long, perfumed cigarette. We can assume that Zaroff and Rainsford were about the same size, since Zaroff provided him with clothing (" 'my clothes,' " Zaroff says) that proved to be a satisfactory fit.

(No doubt the gigantic Ivan was much larger than either of the other men; he was "the largest man" Rainsford had ever seen.)

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Describe General Zaroff's appearance and personality in "The Most Dangerous Game."

Zaroff's personality, I believe, can best be described as calculating. Although a highly civilized man who has all the best pleasures of the world in food and drink, it took him no time to begin sizing up Rainsford as if Rainsford were a common simple animal. Zaroff would also demonstrate a sense of equity to his prey giving them good clothes, a set of rules, and the opportunity for a good night's rest before he played the most dangerous game with them.

Zaroff is a General, thus I think you could imagine the military clean cut features of a man. He is shorter than Rainsford and is Russian. A white man, he is often depicted in literature anthologies with a handlebar-type mustache. I see him smoking a long cigarette and alway appearing in beautiful fabrics and expensive clothes, except on the hunt.

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Describe General Zaroff's appearance and personality in "The Most Dangerous Game."

When Rainsford arrives at the home of Zaroff, the narrator begins with a physical description.

Zaroff's looks are striking. He has bright white hair and black eyes, eyebrows, and mustache.

The general is obviously quite wealthy. The chateau, the hand-tailored clothes from London, and the furnishings in his home all reflect luxury.

Rainsford's host is commanding. He insists that Rainsford follow Ivan to the house and change into the clothes he provides.

General Zaroff is self-aware. He identifies himself and Ivan as Cossacks, remarking that they are a bit "savage."

General Zaroff is elegant. He is tall and slender with erect posture and is wearing evening clothes when Rainsford arrives, even though his house is in the middle of nowhere and he has no other guests.

Zaroff is presumptuous. He tells Rainsford "you want food, clothes, rest." He doesn't ask; he tells.

Worldliness is another of the general's traits. He has a "cultivated" voice and imported goods from all over the world. He is well-travelled and reads in three languages.

Zaroff is monomaniacal. His obsession is hunting.

He is remorseless. He speaks of killing all kinds of animals and his desire to experience the danger and challenges of hunting men without apology.

And finally, General Zaroff is a racist. He tells Rainsford "I hunt the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships—lassars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels[...]."

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Describe General Zaroff's appearance and personality in "The Most Dangerous Game."

1. General Zaroff is a sophisticated man with a refined taste in literature, music, and wine.

2. General Zaroff is a fanatic, who is obsessed with hunting.

3. General Zaroff is a maniacal man who murderers innocent, defenseless humans on his island.

4. The general is a talented, skilled hunter.

5. Zaroff is a cultured man, who has traveled all over the world and enjoys the finer things in life.

6. General Zaroff is a callous man with no regard for human life . . . which is evident in the fact that he hunts humans.

7. Zaroff is also a competitive man and looks forward to competing against Rainsford in the hunt.

8. General Zaroff is violent and takes pleasure in murdering defenseless humans.

9. Zaroff is also intelligent and mentions to Rainsford that he has read all of his books and is capable of speaking different languages.

10. General Zaroff is also a composed, stoic individual. He seems to control his outward emotions throughout the short story.

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Describe General Zaroff's appearance and personality in "The Most Dangerous Game."

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.
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Describe General Zaroff's appearance and personality in "The Most Dangerous Game."

General Zaroff is the antagonist in this story, so most character traits that are associated with him are not positive. I'd like to go a different route with this question, though. I would like to focus on Zaroff's positive characteristics. It's how Zaroff twists those positives that make him such a great antagonist.

First, General Zaroff is a calm and not easily flustered man. He puts his own life at risk when hunting animals, and his life is even more at risk when he hunts humans; however, he is completely calm when on the hunt. Even at the end of the story when Rainsford jumps off of the cliff, Zaroff essentially shrugs and moves on.

When the general and his pack reached the place by the sea, the Cossack stopped. For some minutes he stood regarding the blue-green expanse of water. He shrugged his shoulders. Then be sat down, took a drink of brandy from a silver flask, lit a cigarette, and hummed a bit from Madame Butterfly.

That calmness is also displayed in his conversations with Rainsford. Rainsford flat-out calls Zaroff a murderer, but Zaroff doesn't even bat an eye at the accusation. When a reader looks at the descriptions of the conversation, Rainsford is saying things "hotly" or "stiffly." He's agitated and angry. Zaroff, on the other hand, doesn't get any colorful descriptions. His quotes end with "he answered," "he said," etc. He's utterly calm. He's even calm right before Rainsford kills him.

The general made one of his deepest bows. "I see," he said. "Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford."

Zaroff is creative. Granted, his creativity is morally suspect, but he does come up with a creative solution to his problem. Zaroff is bored with hunting regular big game. He decides that he needs a form of prey that doesn't rely only on instinct. He needs his prey to be able to reason, so he decides that humans will be his new prey. He then implements an effective plan to lure human prey to his island. Essentially, Zaroff has figured out a way to stock his island with prey.

Zaroff is intelligent and experienced. Rainsford comes up with all kinds of different things to throw Zaroff off of his trail. Rainsford even sets up traps, but none of it works. Zaroff is too knowledgeable about hunting to be fooled. Zaroff is also well-read. Zaroff admits that he has read Rainsford's book. The comment is made in such a way that it gives readers the impression that Zaroff has read many other books too. Additionally, Zaroff takes Rainsford to his library and not his trophy room.

"And now," said the general, "I want to show you my new collection of heads. Will you come with me to the library?"

In a twisted way, some of Zaroff's actions give the superficial appearance of being kind. For instance, he gives his human prey the opportunity to be as physically fit as possible before the hunt--but only because he wants the hunt to be a challenge.

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Describe General Zaroff's appearance and personality in "The Most Dangerous Game."

General Zaroff is a sadistic, epicurean lunatic. He enjoys killing, which should be obvious from the fact that he had been a Russian general and must have been responsible for the slaughter of many thousands of men in battles. He is thoroughly selfish and lives for his own pleasure. His principal pleasure is not just in killing human beings but subjecting them to psychological torture by giving them a faint hope of escape. Without his refined manners, gourmet tastes, and luxurious home, Zaroff would come across as nothing but a monster. The author of the story had to give him the offsetting traits of culture and epicureanism in order to humanize him. No doubt Zaroff is extremely intelligent. In this respect he resembles his "guest" Sanger Rainsford. They are both intelligent, well-educated men of the world. They even seem to like each other in some strange way. This is because each man recognizes himself in the other, as if each is looking at his own reflection in a mirror. What each recognizes is the love of killing--although Rainsford has never thought of killing another human being until he met Zaroff.

Ernest Hemingway wrote about killing wild animals in his book Green Hills of Africa (1935) and notably in two short stories: "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." Hemingway had a gift for making the reader identify with the killer, making the reader feel the pleasure it could be in killing an animal, especially a dangerous one. Hemingway especially loved bullfighting because there was a great deal of pain inflicted on the bulls and finally death by the sword of the matador; but at the same time there was some danger to the men who were doing the killing, as well as to the unfortunate horses of the mounted picadors.

It was Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States from 1901 to 1909, who popularized the subject of big-game hunting. He wrote about his own adventures in Africa right around the turn of the century. At that time it was a rich man's sport, and people did not feel much pity for the animals because few of the animals were killed. Now with all the trophy animals on the endangered species list a great many people feel that killing animals for pleasure is disgusting. Therefore a contemporary reader's attitude towards General Zaroff would be different from when the story was published in 1924.

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Describe General Zaroff's appearance and personality in "The Most Dangerous Game."

The characterization in the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" is of great importance to the understanding of the story. Zaroff is a "Cossack". He is an elitist who loves the finer things in life, shown in the way he had adorned his home, the clothes he wears, the wine and liqueur he drinks, and the food he eats. This elitism is also shown in his lack of respect for human life. He hunts people because they afford "good sport". He states this when he says that "life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift?" 

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Please describe General Zaroff.

In Richard Connell's classic short story "The Most Dangerous Game," General Zaroff is described thusly:

"an erect, slender man in evening clothes" who has a "cultivated voice marked by a slight accent"

AND

man was singularly handsome; his second was that there was an original, almost bizarre quality about the general's face. He was a tall man past middle age, for his hair was a vivid white; but his thick eyebrows and pointed military mustache were as black as the night...His eyes, too, were black and very bright. He had high cheekbones, a sharpcut nose, a spare, dark face--the face of a man used to giving orders, the face of an aristocrat.

As such, Zaroff is an archetypal villain, a combination of the following:

  • The DEVIL: the charming fiend, he gives people what he thinks they deserve.
  • The EVIL GENIUS: the malevolent mastermind, he loves to show off his superior intelligence.
  • The SADIST: the savage predator, he enjoys cruelty for its own sake. Violence and psychological brutality are games to this man; and he plays those games with daring and skill.
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Please describe General Zaroff.

General Zaroff is a Russian or, more precisely, a Cossack.  This means that he is from an ethnic group that lived in the Russian Empire and had a reputation for being very brutal.

We are told that he is quite tall, and really very handsome.  However, there is something about him that seems bizarre.  His hair is pure white, which shows that he is getting on in years.  At the same time, though, his eyebrows and mustache are dark black.  So are his eyes.

As a person, Zaroff is very sophisticated.  He likes to do stuff like humming bits of opera and he tries to act very cultured.

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Describe General Zaroff's personality.

The author fashioned General Zaroff to fit the plot. The story is about a man who is being hunted like an animal. There has to be a hunter. But what kind of a man would make a practice of hunting and killing human beings? He has to be one who is used to killing people. That suggests a military man--but not an American, because American readers would not like to think of their soldiers killing innocent civilians for sport! He would have to be rich enough to own his own private preserve for hunting. An island is a good setting because it makes it impossible for the prey to escape. But why is he living away from his own country? And what country? A military officer who is not living in his own county might be a Russian who had to flee from the Bolsheviks. The story was written in the 1920s, shortly after the Russian Revolution. A great many upper-class Russians were fleeing to foreign places in those days. If the story had been written in the late 1940s, the author, Richard Connell, would almost certainly have made the hunter a high-ranking Nazi SS officer. Being rich, Zaroff has cultivated a taste for luxuries. There isn't much he can buy on an island, but he can indulge in gourmet food and wines. He is definitely a sadist. He is an aristocrat, an elitist, undoubtedly a strong support of the Czar. No doubt he was responsible for all kinds of cruelty in his home country. Since he must spend a lot of his time alone, he has acquired a broad education from reading. He must have also traveled a great deal and met many interesting people. He is sophisticated. He undoubtedly knows several languages, including French. His English is very good, although he does not say where he learned it. He seems very intelligent--which explains why he is so easily bored. If a man can get bored with hunting tigers, he must bore easily. Zaroff is a fictitious character created to fill a plot need. He is just barely believable. He requires what Coleridge called "a willing suspension of disbelief." That is to say: Can we believe that such a person could actually exist anywhere in the world?

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Describe General Zaroff's personality.

In "The Most Dangerous Game," General Zaroff is portrayed as a complete savage, albeit one with a veneer of civilized manners overlaying his savagery.

Zaroff's savagery is, of course, on full display in his hunting of human beings and his complete lack of any sympathy for them.

At the same time, he has some superficial aspects of civilization about him.  He has (affects?) aristocratic manners and fancies himself superior to the common run of people, especially such riffraff as the sailors he traps and hunts.

Overall, then, Zaroff acts (in trivial ways) like a sophisticated and civilized man, but his more important actions show him to be a ruthless killer with no other aspect to his personality.

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What are three characteristics of General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

In Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" General Zaroff plays several archetypal villain roles:

The EVIL GENIUS: the malevolent mastermind, he loves to show off his superior intelligence. Intellectual inferiors are contemptible to him and that includes just about everyone. Elaborate puzzles and experiments are his trademark. Don’t let him pull your strings – the game is always rigged in his favor.

The SADIST: the savage predator, he enjoys cruelty for its own sake. Violence and psychological brutality are games to this man; and he plays those games with daring and skill. Run, don’t walk, away from this man – he’ll tear out your heart, and laugh while doing it.

The TERRORIST: the dark knight, he serves a warped code of honor. Self-righteous, he believes in his own virtue, and judges all around him by a strict set of laws. The end will always justify his nefarious means, and no conventional morality will give him pause. Don’t try to appeal to his sense of justice – his does not resemble yours.

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What is Zaroff's personality in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

This is a great question. General Zaroff's personality is complex. 

On the one hand, he was an intelligent and cultured man. He spoke well, could be courteous, and knew how to show hospitality. For example, he read Rainsford's books, treated him to a nice meal, and was a good conversationalist. Here is what the text says:

He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite. But there was one small trait of .the general's that made Rainsford uncomfortable. Whenever he looked up from his plate he found the general studying him, appraising him narrowly.

On the other hand, Zaroff had a twisted desire. He no longer wanted to hunt animals but humans. When Zaroff stated this to Rainsford, he did so with a smile. This alone shows that he was mad in the worst sense.

The general smiled the quiet smile of one who has faced an obstacle and surmounted it with success. "I had to invent a new animal to hunt," he said.

Zaroff later even said that hunting men gave him pleasure!

Finally, when Rainsford surprised him at the end by going after him, he congratulated him and conceded defeat.

The general sucked in his breath and smiled. "I congratulate you," he said. "You have won the game."

In conclusion, the general was a deeply disturbed man with some culture.

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What does General Zaroff represent in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is a man who stands outside the moral code. Having created his own world on Ship-Trip Island, Zaroff controls all that is in his environment. After Rainsford is found and brought to Zaroff's chateau, the general expounds at dinner on his raison d'etre:  "I live for danger." He continues, telling Rainsford that the weak of the world are on earth to provide pleasure for the strong:

If I wish to hunt, why should I not? I hunt the scum of the earth--sailors from tramp ships--lascars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels--a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them.

When Rainsford objects, Zaroff ridicules his "Victorian," or prudish, thinking. "Dear me, what a righteous young man you are!" Then, he informs Rainsford that he cannot leave the island, "I drink to a foeman worthy of my steel--at last." Zaroff anticipates eagerly his new prey without compunction.

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What adjectives describe Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Physically, Zaroff is tall, handsome, middle-aged, and slender.  However, it is the other aspects of Zaroff that are interesting.  I am quoting from the story off the internet, so the page numbers I am using are from that copy.  The adjectives are bolded.

First of all, Zaroff is rich.  His father had been rich in Russia, but Zaroff had to leave that country and lost everything.  However,

“I, luckily had invested heavily in American securities, so I never have to open a tearoom in Monte Carlo or drive a taxi in Paris.” (pg 4)

He also lives in a mansion on an island.  Rainsford  observed

  “It suggested a baronial hall of feudal times with its oaken panels, its high ceiling, its vast  refectory tables where twoscore (40 people) men could sit down and eat. “ (pg 3)

Zaroff is also cultured and cosmopolitan, which means that he could represent many different parts of the world.  He is an expert on wines, foods, and the finer things in life.  When Rainsford is escorted to his room, he finds an evening suit laid out for him and “noticed that it came from a London tailor who ordinarily cut and sewed for none below the rank of duke.” (pg 3)

Rainsford wonders how Zaroff recognizes his name. Zaroff shows that he is well-read and multi-lingual when he explains to Rainsford ,

  “I read all books on hunting published in English, French, and Russian.” (pg 4)

The fact that he is bored, has stimulated his interest in hunting men.  He no longer finds hunting animals exhilarating.

                “Hunting has ceased to be what you call ‘a sporting proposition’.  It had become too easy.  I always got my quarry.  Alwys.  There is no greater bore than perfection.” (pg 4)

  This boredom led him to start hunting mankind, and makes Zaroff immoral.  He does not care for the lives of the people he hunts.   He criticizes Rainsford for harboring,

                “…. romantic ideas about the value of a human life.”  (pg 5)

Finally, because Zaroff has spent so many years hunting, he has become very observant and analytical. He explains to Rainsford,

  “….mine is an analytical mind, Mr. Rainsford.  Doubtless that is why I enjoy the problems of the chase.” (pg 4)

When they are in the hunt, Rainsford notices that,

                “Nothing escaped those searching black eyes, no crushed blade of grass, no bent twig, no  mark, no matter how faint, in the moss.” (pg 8)

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What adjectives describe Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

There are two ways to answer this question.  First, we can give examples from the text.  In other words, we can give Rainsford's perspective. Second, we can give a reader's perspective. I will give both.

From Rainsford's point of view, general Zaroff was an odd combination of characteristics.  On the one hand, he was handsome, sophisticated, an affable host, and an intelligent man.  For example, Zaroff knew about fine foods, wines, and hunting.  He also spoke many languages.  On the other hand, Zaroff was also odd and a cold-blooded murderer. For example, Rainsford noticed that the general studied him, which made him feel uncomfortable.  Later, Rainsford realized that Zaroff was insane, as he hunted humans.  Here are some quotes:

"Not in the least," declared Rainsford. He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite.

"Hunting? Great Guns, General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder."

From a reader's point of view, Zaroff is a complex figure. The adjective that comes to mind is sociopathic.  Many of the qualities that sociopathic people posses can be found in Zaroff - superficial charm, lack of remorse, and antisocial behavior.  

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What type of character is General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

I would argue that General Zaroff is a flat character in that he doesn't really change all that much throughout the story. Yes, he congratulates Rainsford at the end of the story for winning his "game," but that's perfectly in keeping with the warped world-view that he consistently displayed earlier.

Zaroff began the story believing in the survival of the fittest and ends it believing the exact same thing. The only difference now is that he is the hunted rather than the hunter. Just as Zaroff was prepared to live by his Darwinistic philosophy, so too is he prepared to die by it. It's that level of consistency which shows that he hasn't really developed as a character, despite everything that's happened.

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What type of character is General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

One could argue that General Zaroff is a round character in Connell's celebrated short story "The Most Dangerous Game." A round character in a story is a person with a complex disposition who is realistic and has many layers to their personality. Although General Zaroff is the antagonist of the story, he displays a certain depth of character and has a complex personality. Despite the fact that he is a maniacal murderer hunting humans throughout Ship-Trap Island, Zaroff is an intellectual with a refined palate in literature, cuisine, and art. When Rainsford is initially introduced to General Zaroff, he is impressed by his aristocratic demeanor and cosmopolitan taste. Zaroff can speak several languages, has a robust vocabulary, and is well-read. The general also enjoys rare wines, reading philosophical books, and has good taste in clothes, interior design, and fine dining.

At times, the general obsesses over hunting and is determined to catch his quarry, while at other times, he seems relaxed and focuses on his other interests. The general displays his anger when Rainsford insults him but also behaves like a gentleman in his presence. Even when Rainsford wins the most dangerous game, Zaroff is the consummate professional and congratulates him. General Zaroff's dual nature and in-depth personality are what make his character round. He is realistic, complex, and intriguing. His character is much more than what meets the eye and his personality is rather flexible throughout the story.

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What type of character is General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

The contention can be made that General Zaroff is, in fact, a dynamic character because he undergoes a change in his outlook on two occasions.

When Zaroff describes his dangerous game to Sanger Rainsford, he states that he gives his prey a supply of food and a hunting knife with a head start of three hours. If his prey eludes him three days, the man wins the game and goes free. If he finds his quarry, the other "loses."
 
However, Zaroff breaks his rules on two occasions: 

1. On the first day the general tracks Rainsford to the tree in which he lies on a limb. Zaroff's sharp eyes run all the way up the trunk, but

...stopped before they reached the limb where Rainsford lay; a smile spread over his face.

Zaroff has found his prey; Rainsford has not eluded him. But, with horror running through him, Rainsford realizes that the general is prolonging his game, "saving him for another day's sport" instead. Zaroff has changed the rules just so he can enjoy the hunt longer.

2. When Rainsford appears in the general's private chambers on the evening of the third day, Zaroff praises him, saying, "I congratulate you. . . . You have won the game." But Rainsford wants to change the rules as he challenges Zaroff to a duel. Zaroff accepts, "Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds." This stipulation was not in the rules; Zaroff just wants to change them for the sake of getting to duel and satisfy Rainsford.

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What type of character is General Zaroff in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is the antagonist of the short story "The Most Dangerous Game," who attempts to murder Rainsford on Ship-Trap Island. General Zaroff is initially depicted as a civilized, aristocratic man, who appreciates literature and has a refined pallet. Despite his affinity for reading philosophical literature from Marcus Aurelius, General Zaroff is a maniacal murder, who finds pleasure in hunting humans on his secluded island. After the general explains to Rainsford that humans are the most dangerous game because they have the ability to reason, which is something animals cannot do, Rainsford severely criticizes Zaroff for his murderous, savage nature. Despite Rainsford's disgusted reaction and insistence that Zaroff is a madman, the maniacal general casually maintains his composure and proceeds to explain the rules of the game to his quarry. General Zaroff is essentially a fanatic, who takes his affinity for hunting to the extreme by completely rejecting civilization and maniacally pursuing innocent, defenseless victims on his island in order to satisfy his desire to hunt. One could also categorize General Zaroff as a static character because he does not experience a change by the end of the story.

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What type of character is General Zaroff in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is the antagonist in the short story, "The Most Dangerous Game." In challenging Rainsford to a wicked game, Zaroff is the character who presents the external conflict for the protagonist. Richard Connell, the author of the story, uses lots of direct and indirect characterization to develop Zaroff's round character. He is characterized as aristocratic, refined, unscruplous, cold-blooded, eccentric, and a bit insane. Although he hunts men on his island, he does does not believe he is a heartless murderer because he has set up rules for his "game" and provides his prey with resources. He displays these characteristics and beliefs from begining to end with no change, which makes him a static character.

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What type of character is General Zaroff in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is the story's antagonist, who is portrayed as a complex, maniacal individual. General Zaroff is an aristocrat, who has a taste for the finer things in life and appears to be a civilized intellectual. The general is a well-read man and informs Rainsford that he is fluent in several languages. Zaroff also has a refined palate, enjoys reading the works of Marcus Aurelius, and lives in a palatial chateau, which is equipped with all the modern conveniences. When Rainsford is first introduced to General Zaroff, the general behaves like a proper gentleman, who is gracious, polite, and cultured.

Despite his air of civility, General Zaroff reveals that he is a fanatical hunter, who is obsessed with the competitive nature of the sport. He is also portrayed as a maniacal, heartless man, who hunts the vulnerable people stranded on his island. Zaroff has no misgivings about murdering people and enthusiastically stalks unarmed, helpless men during the most dangerous game.

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What type of character is General Zaroff in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is a complex figure in the short story.  On the one hand, he is a sophisticated and well-cultured person.  Even Rainsford who has been around is pleasantly surprised at Zaroff's knowledge, etiquette, and manners.  For example, Zaroff has read all the book on hunting in English, Russian, and French.  The text says:

He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite.

On the other hand, Zaroff's culture and sophistication created a game that was evil.  He created a preserve on the island, in order to hunt humans.  Zaroff wanted a challenge.  He wanted to hunt something that could reason.  

Zaroff loves the thrill and the challenge of hunting.  At one point, he could have killed Rainsford in the hunt, but he allows him to escape to hunt him again.  

In conclusion, Zaroff is sophisticated man, who uses his knowledge and wealth to please himself in the most misanthropic way.  Perhaps, he has seen and experienced too much in war, as a Cossack general. 

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What type of character is General Zaroff in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"?

In Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," General Zaroff is the antagonistic counterpart for the protagonist, Sanger Rainsford. Rainsford observes that Zaroff is handsome, tall, middle-aged, and has "the face of an aristocrat." After further investigation, Rainsford discovers that Zaroff is rich, an expert hunter, and hails from Ukraine. Zaroff's personality is primarily based on his philosophy towards life, which is stated in the following passage:

"Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and if need be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift? If I wish to hunt, why should I not? I hunt the scum of the earth--sailors from tramp ships--lascars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels--a thoroughbred horse or hand is worth more than a score of them."

Based on Zaroff's philosophy about life, he believes, and therefore behaves, as though he is above society's laws. Zaroff believes he should be able to kill whomever he wants because he has the skills, the knowledge, and the ability to do so. On the other hand, he doesn't kill women and children, just "the scum of the earth." Thus, Zaroff justifies his killing game because, in his mind, he rids the world of men who are not of any use to society. 

One might say that Zaroff is a narcissistic elitist who believes he should be able to find pleasure at the expense of the weak. As a result, he plays a most dangerous hunting game that kills men rather than animals. Only a blood-thirsty psychopath comes up with such a cruel and inhuman game. 

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What type of character is General Zaroff in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is a confident man. Considerably wealthy to be able to hire a full-time bodyguard in Ivan, not to mention to build a chateau on a deserted island, Zaroff gets everything he wants. He can order in supplies from all over the world. He seems educated, and a well-versed hunter with the trophies to show his effort. Zaroff is described as calculating, but in a gentleman-like fashion. Perhaps this feature of his character is what makes the most dangerous game so shocking and horrifying to his audience. You wouldn't expect such a civilized man to engage in such a savage act as to take man's life for sport.

Zaroff is intelligent and longs for adventure. We see this as he almost captures Rainsford on the first day of their game, but refuses to make the capture for the sake of the game. He wants to keep playing. He preys on the rush of adrenaline he experiences.

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How do descriptions of Zaroff’s appearance define his character in The Most Dangerous Game?

Zaroff wants to be known as a sophisticated, well-educated, cultured gentleman.  Therefore, he dresses and acts the part.  When Rainsford first meets Zaroff,  it is evening and Zaroff is dressed in evening clothes for dinner.  Described as  erect, slender  and with a cultivated voice, the author hints at upper class society, which is later confirmed with he told of his father,

 "a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea" (pg 5),

 which he later lost due to the debacle of Russia.  The author further describes Zaroff  as past middle age with vivid white hair,  thick black eyebrows and a pointed military mustache, high cheekbones, sharpcut nose, dark eyes , and a spare, dark face.  He remarks that he had the face of

“a man used to giving orders, the face of an aristocrat”. (pg 3) 

 Zaroff loans Rainsford clothes to wear that first night, and Rainsford notices that they were made by a London tailor  and

“sewed for none below the rank of duke”.  (pg 4). 

He carried a gold cigarette case and offered cigarettes with a silver tip and a strong smell of incense.   The next morning, the author says that he was

“dressed faultlessly in the tweed of a country squire.”  (pg 8) 

 He tells Rainsford that

 “We try to be civilized here.” (pg 7)

which is ironic, considering the quarry he hunts every night.

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List 5 personality traits of General Zaroff from "The Most Dangerous Game".

General Zaroff is a sophisticated man who is well-read and values the finer things in life. During his dinner with Rainsford, Zaroff elaborates on the various books he's read about hunting. He says,

"You see, I read all books on hunting published in English, French, and Russian. I have but one passion in my life, Mr. Rainsford, and it is the hunt" (Connell, 5).

General Zaroff is a talented, accomplished hunter who has become bored because he no longer considers hunting a thrilling sport. He tells Rainsford,

"Simply this: hunting had ceased to be what you call 'a sporting proposition.' It had become too easy. I always got my quarry. Always. There is no greater bore than perfection" (Connell, 7).

Zaroff is also a fanatical hunter who has taken his love for the sport to the ultimate extreme. His decision to hunt humans is a result of his fanatical personality, which is expressed in his love for murdering people when he tells Rainsford,

"It [hunting humans] supplies me with the most exciting hunting in the world. No other hunting compares with it for an instant. Every day I hunt, and I never grow bored now, for I have a quarry with which I can match my wits" (Connell, 7).

General Zaroff is also an opinionated individual who does not respect Rainsford's perspective regarding the value of human life. While arguing with Rainsford about the ethics of his "game," General Zaroff says,

"Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong" (Connell, 8).

General Zaroff is also a merciless individual who does not exercise empathy for the people stranded on his island. When Rainsford argues about Zaroff's lack of humanity, Zaroff responds by saying,

"I refuse to believe that so modern and civilized a young man as you seem to be harbors romantic ideas about the value of human life" (Connell, 8).

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List 5 personality traits of General Zaroff from "The Most Dangerous Game".

Zaroff can be described as

1. Wealthy- Rainsford's experience of receiving clothes and just looking around the room Zaroff offered him demonstrates the sheer wealth of Zaroff:

It was to a huge, beam-ceilinged bedroom with a canopied bed big enough for six men that Rainsford followed the silent giant. Ivan laid out an evening suit, and Rainsford, as he put it on, noticed that it came from a London tailor who ordinarily cut and sewed for none below the rank of duke.

2. Hospitable - Rainsford noticed that Zaroff offered him the finest foods, drinks, clothes, and had a great home in which he had invited Rainsford to stay:

He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite.

3. Suspicious - Zaroff made Rainsford nervous.

But there was one small trait of the general's that made Rainsford uncomfortable. Whenever he looked up from his plate he found the general studying him, appraising him narrowly.

4. Intelligent - Zaroff admits to having read Rainsford's book, and demonstrates great craft in creating the game that he made for this island. He also says directly of himself that he has an "analytical mind":

Now, mine is an analytical mind, Mr. Rainsford. Doubtless that is why I enjoy the problems of the chase.

5. Thrill-seeking- Zaroff bored easily. He had a desire for the rush of adrenaline that can only come from the thrill of the hunt:

Hunting tigers ceased to interest me some years ago. I exhausted their possibilities, you see. No thrill left in tigers, no real danger. I live for danger, Mr. Rainsford.

Many of these quotes are captured from the same two pages in which Zaroff and Rainsford sit down to dinner for the first time.

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Which of Zaroff's physical features hint at his brutal nature in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Zaroff is described through the eyes of Rainsford, the narrator of the story, and also through his own dialogue and description. 

Though Rainsford's first impression of Zaroff is that he is "singularly handsome," he remarks in the same phrase that there is an "original, almost bizarre quality about the general's face," which is a more negative description. Later, Zaroff declares himself "a bit of a savage" because he is a Cossack, (a person from southern Russia/Ukraine). Zaroff is later revealed to have "pointed teeth," which are ominous characteristics. Though the general starts off as a polite and gracious host, Rainsford is unnerved by the general's constant appraising stares. The general's "red-lipped smile" is also unnerving. It's clear that he is a brilliant and dangerous man from his conversations about hunting. 

Even the general's actions highlight his brutal nature. When discussing the hunting of men, the general chuckles and laughs repeatedly. He drops a walnut on the floor and crushes it with his heel to emphasize a point. Ultimately, he challenges Rainsford to the hunting game, which demonstrates his cruelty and brutality in his willingness to hunt a fellow man. 

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How does Zaroff perceive himself in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is an amoral, violent criminal who hunts other human beings for sport on his isolated island. At least, this is how Rainsford sees the general. During their talk, it is clear that Zaroff does not view himself in such an uncharitable manner.

Zaroff makes his self-conception plain when he says, "My whole life has been one prolonged hunt." He views everything in the context of predator and prey. He says bluntly that the weak were made to give pleasure to the strong. He also views himself as an exceedingly modern man in his lack of reverence towards human life. When Rainsford accuses Zaroff of murder, Zaroff dismisses the moral claims as "mid-Victorian."

Zaroff also views himself as superior to other people. It is implied that this is a side effect of Zaroff's aristocratic upbringing. From birth, he has lived a privileged existence, and his violent whims from an early age (such as killing his father's prize turkeys when he was only supposed to kill sparrows) have been tolerated by others. What would be seen as criminal in a member of the lower class is okay for Zaroff because of his social status. That most of Zaroff's victims have been sailors and minorities only emphasizes this element of his character.

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What are three quotes that describe General Zaroff's characteristics in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Firstly, it has to be seen that Zaroff has rationalized his cold-blooded behavior.  Does this make him a sociopath?  I won't give you an answer there, but some possible backup could be:

"Hunting? Great Guns, General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder.' The general laughed with entire good nature. He regarded Rainsford quizzically. 'I refuse to believe that so modern and civilized a young man as you seem to be harbors romantic ideas about the value of human life. Surely your experiences in the war--' 'Did not make me condone cold-blooded murder,' finished Rainsford stiffly' (Connell 9)."

Also, he is described as animalistic.  He is described as having, "dead black eyes," and a, "curious, red-lipped smile."

Lastly, we can tell that Zaroff is wealthy.  Aside from inferring this detail from his ability to live on a private island, Zaroff tells Rainsford the first night that he tells Rainsford that after the fall of the czar, he put money into American investments.

Hope this helps!

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What are three quotes that describe General Zaroff's characteristics in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is a character who is paradoxical and jaded; he also is highly skilled as a hunter.

  • paradoxical

When Sanger Rainsford finds himself on an island after having fallen off a ship, he follows the boot prints that he has discovered. After a while, he approaches a "palatial chateau." There Rainsford meets a sophisticated man who speaks in "a cultivated voice." General Zaroff is a gracious host in his home, which resembles "a baronial hall of feudal times." At dinner, the table appointments are "of the finest—the linen, the crystal, the silver, the china." However, the dinner conversation contradicts the sophistication of the home and the appearance of Zaroff. General Zaroff reveals himself as a man who lives for danger and as a sadistic predator who hunts "more dangerous game": men. When Zaroff tells Rainsford "we try to be civilized here," Rainsford retorts, "Civilized? And you shoot down men."

  • jaded (pretentiously callous—American Heritage College Dictionary)

General Zaroff is a man who has hunted nearly every kind of big game. Further, he tells Rainsford that he is so skilled that he has become "bored" with his perfection. For this reason, he has "invent[ed] a new animal to hunt." Rainsford is horrified when he discovers that Zaroff hunts men. Zaroff merely laughs and tells Rainsford, "One does not expect nowadays to find a young man of the educated class, even in America, with such a naive, and, if I may say so, mid-Victorian point of view."

  • highly skilled as a hunter

The proficient hunter Rainsford is impressed with the skill of General Zaroff. After Rainsford creates a complicated trail that "only the devil himself could follow," Zaroff still tracks a surprised Rainsford. Later, Rainsford calls upon his expertise and knowledge as a big-game hunter, and he builds the tricky Malay man-catcher. Rainsford is amazed when Zaroff senses danger and leaps back with great agility to avoid being smashed, only injuring his shoulder.

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What are three quotes that describe General Zaroff's characteristics in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

When Rainsford first meets Zaroff, Zaroff knows exactly who Rainsford is. Although that's just a little creepy, it does indeed reveal his character. This shows he is well-read within the field of hunting.

Furthermore, Zaroff is wealthy. This island seems to be his very own. Whether he built the chateau on his own, or it came with the island, his imported supplies reveal that he can afford to keep living this way or he does it quite unethically. In the text, look for the description of the scene when they eat together. This demonstrates the core of his wealth.

Finally, Zaroff needs challenge. He expresses to Rainsford why he hunts man without any reservation, he is bored. When Rainsford climbs the tree and Zaroff knows that he is up there, he blows the rings of smoke to reveal that boredom once again. He did not want the game to be over at that point.

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What three examples reveal General Zaroff's character in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

That General Zaroff is an ominous man is foreshadowed with the discussion of Whitney and Rainsford in the first paragraphs of the story as they speak of Ship-Trap Island's having an "evil name among seafaring men." Then, once Rainsford has swum ashore from his inadvertent plunge into the sea, and the gigantic Ivan comes upon him, Sanger Rainsford is brought before the general, whose face appears "bizarre" to Rainsford, with his white hair contrasted against ebony eyebrows and bright black eyes. When Rainsford is escorted to dinner, and sits at a beautifully appointed table, he begins to find the general "a most thoughtful and affable host." However, his opinion soon chages and he perceives Zaroff as a dangerous man and, later, as a formidable adversary.

1.The general explains that there is no thrill in hunting big game such as tigers. "I live for danger," he says and adds that he has "invented a new sensation." Explaining that he was born to be a hunter: "My whole live has been one prolonged hunt." But, after hunting all kinds of big game, Zaroff, tells Rainsford, he became bored because hunting had become too easy. So, he "invented a new animal,...the ideal animal," implying that he hunts men.  Thus, the general knows no limits when he wants to satisfy himself.

2.When Rainsford condemns "cold-blooded murder," the general laughs, and calls his guest's ideas "mid-Victorian," saying "doubtless you had Puritan ancestors.  Further, he tells Rainsford,

Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if need be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure.

The general, therefore, has no scruples. His own satisfaction takes precedence over ethics and morality.

3. Zaroff, then, reveals that the island is called Ship-Trap Island because he has laid a trap by creating the illusion of a channel with lights that deceive seamen. So, not only is he a cruel, self-serving man, but he is deceptive and cunning.

A dangerous, cruel, selfish, and cunning man, General Zaroff becomes the predator of Rainsford, who finds himself "a beast at bay."

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What are specific examples of things that reveal the character of General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is educated and cultivated, but has no sense of morality.

There are many different ways to characterize.  Generally, we divide characterization into the categories of direct and indirect.  Direct characterization is when the narrator describes someone.  Indirect characterization is what we learn about a character from what he says and does.

An example of the two types of characterization can be seen in this paragraph.

In a cultivated voice marked by a slight accent that gave it added precision and deliberateness, he said, "It is a very great pleasure and honor to welcome Mr. Sanger Rainsford, the celebrated hunter, to my home."

The fact that he is precise and deliberate is editorial by Rainsford, the narrator.  This is direct characterization.  The fact that he knew who Rainsford was shows that he is both a hunter and an educated man.  He is well-read enough to have read many books on hunting, including those by Rainsford.

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