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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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Discussion Topic

Comparing and contrasting the characters of General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"

Summary:

General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford are both skilled hunters, but they differ in their moral perspectives. While Zaroff takes pleasure in hunting humans, seeing it as the ultimate game, Rainsford initially dismisses the idea as barbaric. However, Rainsford's survival instincts are tested when he becomes Zaroff's prey, ultimately leading to a role reversal where Rainsford must adopt a more ruthless approach to survive.

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What are the similarities between General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford are both expert hunters. They're not just good at hunting; they actually enjoy it. For these men, there are few things more wonderful in life than bringing down some majestic beast with a fusillade of buckshot.

For hunters such as Zaroff and Rainsford, this is a very simple, black and white world; it is a world in which there are hunters and the hunted and where hunters appropriate an almost god-like power to determine whether certain creatures live or die. oth Zaroff and Rainsford very much enjoy the privilege of being in the category of hunter.

As expert hunters, they share a heightened awareness of the natural world, with all its dangers and pitfalls. Their numerous experiences of the hunt have given them a certain resourcefulness in dealing with such dangers, which in turn has developed their survival skills to a considerable extent.

Initially, it is only Zaroff who enjoys the hunting of human quarry; the very idea repels Rainsford at first. However, after Rainsford outwits his pursuer during an epic life-and-death contest on Ship-Trap Island, he too starts to understand how Zaroff must've felt all these years after killing human prey. Now that Rainsford knows what it's like to be both hunter and hunted, he feels ever more keenly the privilege of being the former.

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What are the similarities between General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

At the start of the short story, Whitney and Rainsford discuss the feelings of the jaguar being hunted, and Rainsford points out that "[t]he world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees." The defining characteristic that Zaroff and Rainsford share is that of being in the same class: the hunters.

After Rainsford falls overboard, he swims towards the sound of gunshots and screams of pain and fear. When Rainsford wakes up on the island, he encounters the patch of underbrush where the screaming creature must have died. He uses the same skills of observation honed by his hunting experience to come to this conclusion, the same skills that Zaroff, another experienced hunter, must have used to pursue and kill his prey.

When Zaroff and Rainsford meet, after Rainsford has confronted Ivan at the door of Zaroff's mansion, Zaroff starts his hunt with clever and witty intimidation tactics. These tactics are typical results of a hunter's "analytical mind," which Rainsford also possesses, as a hunter. Zaroff claims prior knowledge of Rainsford and admits to Rainsford that he is like Ivan, a "savage," in an attempt to disorient Rainsford and place him in a position of weakness. The appraising looks from Zaroff that bother Rainsford during dinner are also tactical, to put Rainsford on the defensive.

When Zaroff concedes that Rainsford has won the game at the end of the story, Rainsford insists that the hunt continue and that the two hunters fight to the death: "Get ready, General Zaroff." Rainsford's hunting instincts lead him to mistrust Zaroff, and he kills Zaroff knowing that that is the only way he will live. To the end, neither hunter can turn off their hunting skills, perhaps the mark of a true and lifelong hunter.

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What are the similarities between General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

While not apparent at first, there are many similarities to the basic natures of Sanger Rainsford and General Zaroff. Among the salient qualities that are similar, there are the following:

  • Both are expert hunters. They are knowledgeable of weapons, traps, and techniques in hunting.
  • Both enjoy being hunters, not the ones hunted. Zaroff says, "My whole life has been one prolonged hunt." Rainsford expresses to Whitney that he and Whitney are "luckily...hunters." He is not concerned about the feelings of his prey.
  • Both are men of courage and cunning. Because of his courage and cunning, Zaroff has chosen to hunt "the most dangerous game" because hunting "had ceased to be what you call 'a sporting proposition. It had become too easy."
  • Both are survivalists. Rainsford knows how to hide, set traps, and outthink his enemy. For instance, Rainsford dives into the sea, but returns to the chateau where he duels Zaroff and kills him.
  • Both are predatory. Zaroff has no qualms against killing men, and Rainsford is exigent and will shoot anyone or anything in his way to safety as long as his life is in danger. In the end, Rainsford kills Zaroff, refuting the protests his gives to Zaroff about hunting the most dangerous game at his first dinner.

   "Even so, I rather think they understand one thing--fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death."
   "Nonsense," laughed Rainsford. "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 hunters. Do you think we've passed that island yet?"
   "I can't tell in the dark. I hope so."

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What are the similarities between General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

This is a very intelligent question. More things separate Rainsford and General Zaroff than make them alike for most of the story. For example, even though they are both hunters, Rainsford would never think of hunting humans, like Zaroff. However, at the end of the story, something interesting happens, which may suggest that Rainsford is very much like General Zaroff. 

Towards the end of the story, Rainsford decides that he must do something other than flee or wait if he is going to survive. He, therefore, decides to go on the offensive. He will go to Zaroff. This surprises Zaroff, because when he gets home he sees that Rainsford is waiting for him. 

Zaroff admits that he lost the "game." At this point, the reader wonders how the story will end. The reader is not left to wonder. Rainsford never slept a better night in Zaroff's bed. The implication is that Rainsford killed him. This makes Rainsford as bad a Zaroff. In this sense, they might be the same. 

Here is the text:

Rainsford did not smile. "I am still a beast at bay," he said, in a low, hoarse voice. "Get ready, General Zaroff."

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." . . .

He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.

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What are the similarities between General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Both Sanger Rainsford and General Zaroff are thoroughly experienced big-game hunters. Zaroff acknowledges that he knows all about Rainford's achievements in this field, having read his books; and Rainsford sees tangible evidence of Zaroff's nerve and hunting experience throughout the big house.

About the hall were mounted heads of many animals--lions, tigers, elephants, moose, bears; larger or more perfect specimens Rainsford had never seen.

The other thing the two men have in common is their appreciation of the luxuries of life. The general serves a delicious meal which shows his own discriminating taste in food and wine, while Rainsford shows his own discriminating taste in enjoying it.

The cocktail was surpassingly good; and, Rainsford noted, the table appointments were of the finest--the linen, the crystal, the silver, the china.

Most of their dinner-table conversation is about big-game hunting. Rainsford feels well disposed towards his cultured and courteous host until he finds out that General Zaroff is now only interested in hunting "the most dangerous game," which is human beings. Rainsford would like to leave the island immediately, as he tells the General bluntly, but he finds that he is a prisoner and will soon be a hunted man himself.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

When it comes to their differences, it can be argued that while Zaroff is some sort of psychopath, Rainsford is a rational-thinking, ordinary sort of man. With regard to the matter of hunting an animal that can reason—in other words, men—Rainsford argues that this is murder, while to Zaroff, it is simply a new style of hunting.

While Zaroff has grown bored with the conventional hunting of animals, this sport is still a passion for Rainsford. In a nutshell, Rainsford adheres to societal norms and is a law-abiding citizen. Zaroff, as the story soon reveals, is a ruthless murderer.

In terms of how they are alike, Rainsford and Zaroff share a passion for hunting. Rainsford has written a book about "hunting snow leopards in Tibet," which indicates that he is an expert on the subject. When Rainsford enters Zaroff's dining room, he notices the mounted heads of various animals from all over the world, from lions to bears, including the largest Cape Buffalo that Rainsford has ever seen. This provides an immediate indication of Zaroff's passion for the sport.

Thanks to their wide knowledge of hunting, both men are familiar with "Malay mancatchers" and "Burmese tiger pits." Another similarity that must be noted is that both men are extremely intelligent and highly adept at hunting. Rainsford is constantly impressed at Zaroff's ability to track him using even the smallest clue. In the end, however, it is Rainsford who gains the upper hand, swimming back to the "lofty structure with pointed towers" that Zaroff calls home.

Arguably the biggest difference between the two is that while Zaroff is arrogant, Rainsford is determined. Zaroff's arrogance leads him to think that his expertise, experience, and pack of hunting dogs would win him the upper hand. Rainsford, on the other hand, has the determination required to beat his psychotic "host" at his own game.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Sanger Rainsford and the maniacal General Zaroff both share an affinity for big-game hunting and are experts in that particular field. Rainsford is a famous big-game hunter who has published several books, while General Zaroff is also an accomplished hunter who has traveled the world hunting ferocious, spectacular animals. Aside from sharing the same passion for hunting, both Rainsford and Zaroff are intelligent and extremely competitive. Throughout "The Most Dangerous Game," Rainsford is impressed and terrified by Zaroff's acute senses and ability to find his trail in the dark. Similarly, Zaroff is fascinated by Rainsford's ingenuity and skill at making deadly booby traps.

One could also argue that both characters share a similar worldview. At the beginning of the story, Rainsford tells Whitney the world is made up of two classes, "the hunters and the huntees," while Zaroff believes "life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong." Both men's worldviews are hierarchical and entitle stronger, capable people of dominating lesser beings. However, Rainsford's worldview does not apply to interactions between humans, while Zaroff's does.

Despite their several similarities and common interest in hunting, Rainsford and Zaroff differ regarding their moral outlook on the value of human life. Rainsford is appalled when he discovers Zaroff hunts defenseless humans on his island, but the general considers it a thrilling experience. Rainsford labels Zaroff a deranged murderer, while Zaroff defends his actions by stating that Rainsford subscribes to a naive "mid-Victorian point of view." The general is also bored with hunting animals, while Rainsford still finds hunting big game exciting and competitive. The general's boredom is his primary reason for creating his game and taking the lives of innocent humans trapped on his island.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Rainsford and Zaroff are different in their views about hunting human beings. Zaroff scoffs at Rainsford's shock that Zaroff hunts humans. Zaroff wonders that Rainsford romanticizes human life after his experiences fighting in World War I. Perhaps because of these experiences, Rainsford bluntly calls hunting humans "murder."

The men differ, too, in that the older Zaroff suffers from what he calls "ennui" or boredom. He has come to find big-game hunting uninteresting. He feels that he has done it all, that animals are no longer a challenge, and that he needs a new thrill. Rainsford, in contrast, is still interested and engaged in the legitimate activities the world has to offer, such as hunting jaguars.

The men are also very similar. They both thrive on hunting. Neither has a moral problem with killing animal prey. Onboard the ship, when Whitney states that the prey have different feelings about a hunt than the hunter, Rainsford responds,

Don’t talk rot, Whitney. ... You’re a big-game hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels?

These word echo how Zaroff views hunting. Both Zaroff and Rainsford put their own thrill as hunters ahead of compassion for their prey. However, Rainsford undergoes a reassessment of how much he cares about the feelings of prey when he becomes the prey.

Both men are hierarchical in their thinking, with the world divided into the hunters and the hunted. Their main difference is how they divide the hierarchy. Rainsford, unlike Zaroff, does not wish to put humans in the category of beings permissible to hunt.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

The protagonist and antagonist of the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" share at least one similarity. Rainsford and Zaroff both love the thrill of the hunt, and they have travelled to different parts of the world to kill the big game they view as their greatest challenge. However, the two men differ in most other respects. Where Rainsford travels the globe to seek big game, Zaroff has isolated himself on a remote island in the Caribbean, stocking the it with many of the same animals that Rainsford seeks. Rainsford is still an enthusiastic hunter, while Zaroff has grown bored with the sport. But the biggest division between the two men is their idea of killing: Rainsford restricts his hunt to animals, while Zaroff has moved on to the human prey. This repulses Rainsford, and he wants no part of Zaroff's game nor his hospitality. Forced to play the game anyway, Rainsford proves a skillful adversary for Zaroff; and when the game is over, Zaroff honorably names Rainsford the winner. But by this time, Rainsford's values have changed, and he is ready to play Zaroff's game himself--this time as the hunter. 

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What's the difference between Zaroff and Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

The primary difference between General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford concerns their views regarding the value of human life. General Zaroff is portrayed as a maniacal hunter who does not value human life and murders vulnerable people throughout Ship-Trap Island for the thrill of it. He harbors no "romantic ideas" about human life and has no qualms about hunting and killing people for his pleasure. Zaroff lacks a moral compass and does not find his actions inhumane or criminal. He even views Ivan's death as a "slight annoyance" and is more concerned that his quarry has escaped him. In addition to Zaroff's outlook regarding the value of human life, he also views hunting as a necessary aspect of his life. Zaroff is fanatical about hunting and cannot live without the thrill of the hunt. He is sentimentally attached to the sport and crosses every moral boundary to fulfill his need.

Although Sanger Rainsford is an avid, successful hunter, he does not feel that hunting is necessary for him to live. He is not fanatical about hunting like Zaroff, and a lack of hunting would not adversely influence his emotional well-being. Rainsford also values human life and is not willing to commit murder to fulfill his hunting needs. When Rainsford discovers that Zaroff hunts humans on his island during the most dangerous game, he is appalled and calls the general a murderer. Sanger Rainsford immediately recognizes that the general is deranged and uses his skill set to survive the most dangerous game.

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What's the difference between Zaroff and Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff and Rainsford are both avid hunters, but they differ in one vital principle: the value of human life. When Rainsford falls off of a yacht and ends up on Zaroff’s island, Zaroff is at first charming, hospitable, and charismatic. He soon reveals, however, that he has developed a new form of game for his sport: humans. The following exchange between the two men demonstrates the difference between them:

"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.

Rainsford learns that Zaroff has no regard for human life, a line he draws very clearly in his moral compass. At the start of the story, Rainsford expresses similar views in relation to hunting jaguars, claiming that they have no “understanding.” In his eyes, however, this does not apply to humans. Zaroff views things differently; his morality is skewed so that he does not view hunting humans as murder. The act to him is not inhumane. In fact, it is almost as if the general has no humanity at all. When he is hunting Rainsford on his island, the man notices the general’s “dead black eyes.” He is cold, almost unemotional in his beliefs, and seeking only the thrill of the hunt.

When he loses his right hand man in his “game” with Rainsford, the loss is only a “slight annoyance” to the general. He has no regard for any life, not even his own. This is seen at the end, when Rainsford surprises the general in his bedroom, prepared to kill him. Zaroff’s only response to his imminent demise is the joy of a good hunt. He congratulates Rainsford and accepts his defeat.

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What's the difference between Zaroff and Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Despite General Zaroff and Rainsford's many similarities, the two characters have drastically different ideas of morality and civility. The main difference between the two characters concerns General Zaroff's affinity for hunting humans. General Zaroff is a fanatical hunter, who enjoys chasing humans throughout Ship-Trap Island before he kills them. In contrast, Rainsford finds General Zaroff's propensity to hunt humans to be repulsive, malevolent, and wicked. Rainsford considers General Zaroff a maniacal murderer, who hides behind a veil of civility and aristocracy.

In addition to their opposite views concerning hunting humans, the two characters have different backgrounds. General Zaroff is a wealthy Russian Cossack with military experience, who hails from a noble family, while Rainsford is a world-renowned American hunter. Throughout the story, both characters also exhibit different personality traits. General Zaroff is portrayed as a calm, confident, eloquent man, while Rainsford is depicted as an overwhelmed, intense person, who is in a desperate situation. 

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What's the difference between Zaroff and Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

At the ending of this story, it is not clear that there really is a difference between Rainsford and Zaroff.  At least, some have said that the ending implies that Rainsford may just step into Zaroff's place and start hunting himself.

However, you can argue that they are different, especially if you don't believe this interpretation of the ending.  While Rainsford does like to hunt, he does nothing that shows that he is brutal like Zaroff.  Rainsford does set all sorts of traps for Zaroff, but that is completely self-defense.  Rainsford kills Zaroff, not in self-defense, but it's hard to imagine what else he should have done -- go to sleep and hope Zaroff wouldn't come kill him?

So, I think that Rainsford is not cruel and inhuman like Zaroff is.  Rainsford is only violent when he needs to be.

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What's the difference between Zaroff and Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Zaroff and Rainsford are both hunters. Rainsford is world renowned for his skill as a hunter, but General Zaroff believes that he too is a skilled hunter and he has heard of and is excited to "hunt with" Rainsford. The biggest difference between the two is that Rainsford hunts big game that are only animals, while General Zaroff hunts what he calls "dangerous game" and that is humans. He believes that his "game" where he hunts a human for three days is fair and it intrigues him because he feels he has finally found his intellectual match in a hunt. He feels that only humans are cunning and clever enough to be hunted. Rainsford does not agree, but is forced to play. 

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Rainsford and Zaroff are alike in being hunters. They are both wealthy enough to indulge themselves in the expensive sport of big game hunting. Both have extensive hunting experience, though the older Zaroff has more than Rainsford.

As the story opens, they both share a callousness about the game they hunt. As Rainsford asks: "Who cares how a jaguar feels?"

Despite these likenesses, the men differ. Rainsford, an American, appears to have a different moral compass than his host. Zaroff calls hims a "puritan" because of the distinction he makes between animals and humans. For Rainsford, hunting animals is sport while hunting humans is murder. Rainsford puts human beings above all animals, finding humans superior because of the human ability to reason.

In contrast, the Russian Zaroff does not make this sharp distinction. He considers the right kind of animal superior to the "wrong" kind of human. He tells Rainsford,

I hunt the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships—lassars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels—a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them.

Rainsford's response shows his different way of thinking:

"But they are men," said Rainsford hotly.

As Rainsford has the experience of being hunted, he transforms. We learn that he "knew now how an animal at bay feels."

Zaroff is more arrogant than Rainsford. Not only does his background as an aristocrat make him feel superior to the mass of mankind, it never occurs to him that if Rainsford "wins" the hunt, he, Zaroff, might die. Zaroff talks about how, if Rainsford is alive in three days, they can have a drink together. Rainsford, however, turns the tables as he kills Zaroff at the story's end.

The ending is ambiguous. When Rainsford sleeps in Zaroff's bed, this may indicate he has become more like him, but such comments as knowing what it feels like to be hunted suggest, in contrast, that he is becoming more, not less, empathic. In either case, he is a more complex character than Zaroff because he has not yet hardened into what he will become.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Rainsford and General Zaroff both enjoy nothing better than to participate in a good, long hunt. The thrill of the chase is everything for these men, a chance to prove themselves against nature's predators, red in tooth and claw. In the moral universe which Rainsford and Zaroff inhabit, there are only hunters and hunted, and it's essential that you're one of the former and not the latter.

The big difference between the two men is that Zaroff enjoys hunting human quarry, whereas Rainsford's generally satisfied with bagging dumb animals that can't shoot back. However, that changes dramatically over the course of the story. Rainsford's immense satisfaction at what we presume is his killing of Zaroff indicates that he too now gains as much enjoyment from killing another human as he does from slaughtering animals. Thanks to his terrifying adventure on Ship-Trap Island, Rainsford now knows that it feels like to be the hunted one. But far from turning him into a man of peace who's seen the error of his ways, he's now morphed into Zaroff. And that's pretty scary.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Rainsford and General Zaroff are both talented, accomplished hunters in the short story "The Most Dangerous Game." Initially, both characters seem to share the same philosophy toward hunting. At the beginning of the story, Rainsford tells Whitney, "The world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees" (Connell, 1). General Zaroff takes the same approach toward hunting but in a more fanatical, unsympathetic way. General Zaroff and Rainsford are both wealthy individuals who can afford to travel to exotic places and hunt big-game animals. Both characters also enjoy literature about hunting. When the two first meet, Zaroff tells Rainsford that he has read his book about hunting snow leopards in Tibet, before elaborating on his extensive library of hunting literature.

Despite many of their similarities, General Zaroff and Rainsford have drastically different viewpoints concerning civilization and morality. While Rainsford finds it extremely troubling and horrific that General Zaroff hunts defenseless humans on his island, Zaroff dismisses Rainsford's concerns by calling him naive. Zaroff views himself as a modern, civilized man, while Rainsford views him as a murderer. Zaroff is also fanatical about hunting and cannot satiate his desire to be challenged in his field. In contrast, Rainsford enjoys hunting but has the ability to limit his desires.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Rainsford and Zaroff share a few common traits, but as the story works toward its climax, they differ more and more.

In common, Rainsford and Zaroff both have an immense interest in the sport of hunting. Rainsford waxes poetically to his shipmate in the opening scenes about the skill and pleasure of the hunt. He shows excitement for his chance to go prove himself against a new query on the trip. In an obvious foreshadow, his shipmate ask him to consider how the jaguar (or animal being hunted) fells, and Rainsford laughs it off without empathy.

Zaroff also shows an extreme interest in hunting from the beginning. He is an expert and loves the hunt. Like Rainsford, he seems to have the wealth and time to partake in his hobby to an extreme degree. Not everyone could charter boats to exotic places to hunt a variety of game. 

The big difference between the men comes between PASSION and FANATICISM. Rainsford passion makes him devote much of his life to hunting and leads to his position in the story. However Zaroff's obsession is much more to the extreme end. He is so fanatical that he becomes less human in his sympathy and empathy for others. He no longer values life in any means because his "game" of hunting the toughest query overrides all else.

Rainsford, experiencing the side of the hunted gains sympathy for the animals he has tracked and killed in his past and sees an ugliness in the extremism Zaroff represents. 

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Rainsford and Zaroff both enjoy hunting and are good at it, but Zaroff is bored with hunting animals.

Rainsford is a skilled hunter.  He is so experienced and well-respected, in fact, that he has written many books on the subject.  However, he still seems to enjoy hunting animals and find a challenge in it.  Zaroff, on the other hand, believes that he has no challenge left in animals.  He has moved on to try to find animals who can outsmart him—human prey.

Rainsford believes that animals cannot think.  He has a conversation about this at the beginning of the story.  However, it is clear from this conversation with Whitney that Rainsford still gets pleasure from hunting regular animals.

"We should make it in a few days. I hope the jaguar guns have come from Purdey's. We should have some good hunting up the Amazon. Great sport, hunting."

"The best sport in the world," agreed Rainsford.

"For the hunter," amended Whitney. "Not for the jaguar."

Rainsford does not care how the animals feel, but he does still seem to enjoy hunting something as simple as a jaguar.  Even though he is talented enough to have written books on hunting, he can still take pleasure in the hunt.  Zaroff, on the other hand, apparently has decided that hunting an animal is beneath him.

When Zaroff explains why he “invented” a new quarry for hunting (humans), he tells Rainsford over and over again that he is one of the best hunters in the world and he simply could not stand to be bored.  He tells Rainsford that he would simply “go to pieces” if he did not do something.

"[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."

Zaroff’s plan was to get an island and populate it with human prey.  Away from the prying eyes of civilization, he could pretty much do what he wished.  Hunting was now much more interesting.  Of course Rainsford is the most dangerous game of all.  He is a trained hunter.  Zaroff knew he would have a lot of fun chasing him and trying to hunt him down.

Rainsford is completely opposed to the hunting of humans.  When Zaroff tries to suggest that because he has been a solider he will be okay with killing people for sport, he puts him in his place.

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.

Of course Rainsford will not play the game, and hunt humans alongside Zaroff.  The general is completely okay with that.  He would much rather hunt Rainsford anyway, because, as I said, Rainsford is an excellent hunter and will make more challenging prey for Zaroff.  To Zaroff, it is all about making the game more challenging.

Rainsford is an above-average hunter but a typical human being.  He considers animals killable and balks at killing people.  Zaroff, on the other hand, follows his own moral code.  He is completely narcissistic.  If it pleases him, it is moral.  He considers himself superior to others because he survives.  In his world, it is kill or be kill.  If you survive, you are worthy.  If you don’t, you are not.  In the end, though, it is Rainsford who survives.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Sangor Rainsford and General Zaroff are both impeccable hunters and war veterans with a taste for hunting challenging animals. The two men also share the belief that hunting is fair and the prey has an equal chance at survival or death. They have both classified the world’s inhabitants into two classes: the strong and the weak or the hunters and the hunted. In this regard, they both viewed themselves as superior beings compared to what they hunted and employ the same assertion to justify their killing. Rainsford and Zaroff are both well read and smart. This is noted when Zaroff recognized Rainsford the moment they meet because he had read his books on hunting. Killing also comes naturally to both men as seen when Rainsford, without hesitation, kills Zaroff at the chateau; it is also clear in earlier attempts by Zaroff to kill Rainsford during the game.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Sanger Rainsford and General Zaroff are both accomplished hunters, who enjoy big-game hunting and share similar views regarding their sport as well as their place in the world. At the beginning of the story, Rainsford tells Whitney that the world is made up of two classes, which are the "hunters and the huntees." Rainsford's belief in his inalienable right to exercise his strength over weaker beings is similar to Zaroff's perspective. Zaroff mentions,

"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." (Connell, 8)

In addition to their similar perspectives regarding hunting and exercising their will over others, Rainsford and Zaroff are both competitive, intelligent individuals. Rainsford demonstrates his intelligence and determination by cleverly fashioning traps to slow down Zaroff during the most dangerous game. Zaroff displays his intelligence by being well-read and having the ability to speak multiple languages. Both men are also wealthy, cultured individuals, who have traveled throughout the world hunting big game.

Despite their many similarities, Rainsford and Zaroff subscribe to a different set of morals and have different goals in life. Rainsford is a civilized, rational man who values human life, while Zaroff is a maniacal murderer who enjoys hunting defenseless humans. While Rainsford has an affinity for hunting, he is not obsessed with the sport like General Zaroff. Zaroff views hunting as a religious ritual and cannot live without it. Zaroff is also a powerful man who is completely in charge of Ship-Trap Island, while Rainsford is simply another vulnerable guest on the island. Rainsford is also desperate to survive, while the general has fun during the most dangerous game.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Let's start with the similarities. 

First, General Zaroff and Rainsford are hunters. They both love the hunt, and both men are accomplished veterans. We can say that hunting runs in their veins. We see this even in the beginning of the story when Rainsford says to his friend, Whitney, that there are only two classes in the world - the hunted and the huntee.

The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters. Do you think we've passed that island yet?"

Second, both Rainsford and the general are cultured men. Even the ability to hunt presupposes a certain amount of wealth. Moreover, Rainsford, in his interaction with the general, can appreciate his worldly sophistication. In other words, it takes a sophisticated man to appreciate it in another. 

Now for the differences. 

Zaroff takes hunting to a new level, which is unimaginable to Rainsford. Zaroff even boast of creating a new animal by which he means humans. When Rainsford finds out about this, he is disgusted and wants to leave the island immediately. From this we can say that Zaroff is mad (as in crazy). He takes his love for hunting to a perverted degree. Rainsford does not. From this perspective, they are different men. 

Here is a dialogue that shows the difference between the two men:

"I wanted the ideal animal to hunt," explained the general. "So I said, `What are the attributes of an ideal quarry?' And the answer was, of course, `It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason."

"But no animal can reason," objected Rainsford."

"My dear fellow," said the general, "there is one that can."

"But you can't mean--" gasped Rainsford."

"And why not?"

"I can't believe you are serious, General Zaroff. This is a grisly joke."

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What are some similarities and differences between Zaroff and Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

When dining with Zaroff on the night that Ivan finds him and brings him to the mansion of the general, the reader notes a distinct difference in the point of view expressed by the two hunters:  Zaroff states that, bored with hunting, he needed a new animal, one that can reason. Understanding the implication of what Zaroff has said, Rainsford, appalled, replies, "Hunting, ...what you speak of is murder...[I do] not condone cold-blooded murder...I'm a hunter, not a murderer."  The irony, of course, is that at the end of the story, Rainsford does, indeed, become a murderer, too.

Another irony is that Rainsford does not really know himself, for in the exposition he tells his shipmate, "The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees."  This statement foreshadows the self-prophesy of Rainsford's predatory self when placed in a life-threatening situation. In the end of the story, he has accepted that he is a predator.  In fact, he relishes his role:  "He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided."

What Zaroff has already known and accepted about himself, Rainsford has to discover when he becomes "an animal at bay."  In essence, the two mean are alike, both predatory, but Rainsford does not realize this similarity until the end.

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Compare and contrast Zaroff and Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game."

The two men come from very different backgrounds.  Rainsford is "an American hunter of world renown" who has written a book about hunting snow leopards in Tibet.  He, like Zaroff, has both a very refined nature and an avid interest in hunting.

Zaroff, in contrast, is a Cossack, who claims to have been a high-ranking officer for the former Tsar of Russia.  He lives in a "palatial chateau" like royalty, and is distinguished by a "cultivated voice", "fine clothes", and the "singularly handsome features of an aristocrat". 

Zaroff has a grisly obsession for hunting human beings.  He delights in capturing stranded sailors and forcing them to play his game as the hunted; Zaroff sees the killing of human beings as being a "very modern, even civilized" sport.  Rainsford, in contrast, is appalled at Zaroff's lack of morality, and considers him to be little more than a murderer.   The difference between the two men is called into question, however, when Rainsford outwits Zaroff at his own game, and refuses to end the game when victory is assured - even though it is not necessary, Rainsford kills Zaroff, and usurps his place in his palace.  The story raises the question as to whether, despite their different professions about the killing game, Rainsford in the final analysis harbors the same ruthless evil in his character as his opponent.

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In "The Most Dangerous Game," who is more characterized, General Zaroff or Rainsford?

One could argue that Rainsford is more characterized throughout the short story "The Most Dangerous Game." Connell utilizes third person limited narration to characterize Rainsford by describing his inner feelings and emotions. Rainsford is also portrayed as a dynamic character as he goes from being a callous, unsympathetic hunter, to a person who fully understands what it is like to be hunted.

Rainsford's inner thoughts are described as Connell illustrates his panic after falling off the yacht and his sense of comfort when he initially sits down to dinner at Zaroff's chateau. Rainford's sense of anxiety and fear is also portrayed as he attempts to avoid Zaroff throughout Ship-Trap Island. Rainsford's sense of danger and primal instincts are also revealed when he surprises the general in his own room at the end of the novel.

The third person limited narration allows Connell to focus on Rainsford's personal thoughts and emotions while he objectively describes General Zaroff's behaviors and comments. Essentially, Rainsford is more characterized than General Zaroff because the reader never has perspective on the general's inner thoughts and emotions like they do for Rainsford.

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In "The Most Dangerous Game," who is more characterized, General Zaroff or Rainsford?

The characterization we receive most is that of Rainsford.  This is for a few reasons:

1) We see him before, during, and after his run-in with Zaroff, whereas we only learn about Zaroff during his interactions with Rainsford.

2)  We are given a description of Zaroff from Rainsford's point of view, showing us not only how Zaroff looks and acts, but also Rainsford's interpretation of his look and mannerisms.

3) We are given a view into the mind of Rainsford, not Zaroff, several times: on the boat, when he arrives on the island, when he meets with Zaroff, and all throughout the hunt we learn how he is thinking his way through the jungle and away from Zaroff.

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

This question has also been previously asked and answered. Please see the links below for more information, and thank you for using eNotes.

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

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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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Rainsford's philosophy about hunting is similar to Zaroff's, although Zaroff takes the philosophy much further. At the dinner table, Zaroff explains to Rainsford how he has come to live on the island and how he has become bored with hunting animals. Rainsford is shocked with Zaroff's revelation, that he hunts people:

"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, "The Most Dangerous Game," classicreader.com)

Rainsford still considers human life valuable, while Zaroff explicitly states that he is justifed in hunting other humans because he is stronger than they are. Zaroff initially wants Rainsford to join him in the hunt, but Rainsford refuses on moral grounds. By the end of the story, though, Rainsford has become more pragmatic, and deliberately returns to the chateau to kill Zaroff. This is not necessarily because he has become like Zaroff (although that is one interpretation) but rather a reflection of the value that he places on his own life; Rainsford wants to continue living, and is willing to lower himself to Zaroff's level to survive.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is the more experienced and technically sound hunter. However, his extremism pushes him over the edge, and his overconfidence is his downfall. Rainsford takes advantage of this to win out in the end, but he decides to give up on hunting after experiencing what it is like to be the prey. 

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Compare and contrast Zariff and Rainsford in the story "The Most Dangerous Game."

Rainsford is a famous American hunter and author of books about hunting. Zaroff also shares the love of hunting, but he has allowed his to turn into a savage, brutal hunt of human beings. Both men also like the finer things of life--nice rooms, fine wine, etc. Zaroff speaks very well, showing that he's educated and refined, but this outward persona belies his savagery underneath. Rainsford is horrifed when he first learns of what Zaroff is doing and realizes that hunting humans is just a game for Zaroff. At the end, Rainsford goes back to kill Zaroff, and we are left wondering whether Rainsford has enjoyed the hunt between Zaroff and himself so much that maybe Rainsford may take Zaroff's place.
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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Although they are set up as clear protagonist and antagonist -- Rainsford is the "white hat," General Zaroff is the "black hat" -- the two characters have more in common than differences. In fact, taking Rainsford's comment at the start of the story that the world is made up of "hunters and huntees" into account, it seems that he is only a few rationalizations away from adopting the same worldview that Zaroff has cultivated. At the end of the story, Rainsford chooses to return to the chateau and kill Zaroff rather than seek escape; this is often cited as proof that he has become the "new General."

However, they differ in one key point; Rainsford views animals as sub-human creatures, not deserving of excess cruelty, but also not of human sympathies. Zaroff views all the world as the same, with humans dominating because of their ability to reason; therefore, humans are as acceptable for hunting as any other animal, with their reason giving them an edge. Even during the hunt, Rainsford only sets traps when he is certain that he cannot escape through woodcraft; when his traps fail, he does not waste his life fighting the overwhelming odds and instead risks death to escape and live or die on his own terms.

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How are Rainsford and Zaroff alike and different in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is depicted as a maniacal murderer who ruthlessly hunts defenseless humans throughout his island for fun. He is initially portrayed as a civilized, intelligent man with a palate for the finer things in life. He is well-read, sophisticated, and cultured, which initially impresses Sanger Rainsford. During their first meal together, Zaroff demonstrates his confident, egoistical nature by commenting on his achievements as a hunter and elaborating on his extraordinary marksmanship abilities. After Zaroff mentions that he hunts humans, he is depicted as an obsessive, overly competitive individual, who will stop at nothing to satisfy his desires. Zaroff's murderous hobby also reveals his callous, insensitive personality.

The protagonist of the story is Sanger Rainsford, who is depicted as an accomplished, skilled hunter. Unlike Zaroff, Rainsford is portrayed as a civilized, rational individual and severely criticizes the general for murdering defenseless humans as a source of entertainment.

During the most dangerous game, Rainsford is portrayed as resourceful, intuitive, and clever. He fashions several dangerous traps that significantly slow Zaroff down and give him a slight advantage in the game. Rainsford is also depicted as extremely competitive and refuses to become another one of Zaroff's victims. At the end of the story, Rainsford manages to avoid the general's dogs, sneaks into his room, and defeats him in hand-to-hand combat. Rainsford's ability to overcome obstacles, adapt to his environment, and successfully defeat General Zaroff in the most dangerous game demonstrates his determined, strong-minded personality.

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In "The Most Dangerous Game," how do scruples show differences in Rainsford and Zaroff's personalities?

Scruples could be defined as misgivings about something one feels is wrong. When Rainsford calls General Zaroff a murderer, the general counters by saying, 

"Dear me," said the general, quite unruffled, "again that unpleasant word. But I think I can show you that your scruples are quite ill founded."

Rainsford, of course, has misgivings over Zaroff's mode of hunting on the island. Instead of hunting animals, the general hunts men and that is precisely what Rainsford objects to. He thinks of Zaroff as an unscrupulous murderer and cannot abide the inhumane activity the general is engaged in. The general tries to explain his reasoning for hunting men, which revolves around his immense arrogance and bigotry. He says, 

"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 is worth more than the lot of them."

Rainsford sees it as nothing less than barbaric and when the general offers to hunt with Rainsford, the American refuses, showing his scruples. He knows it is wrong to hunt men, regardless of the general's twisted logic. Of course, Rainsford does become involved in the hunt as the general actually hunts him in the second half of the story. 

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Compare and contrast General Zaroff and Rainsford in "The Most Dangerous Game".

Rainsford and Zaroff can arguably be considered parallel characters in that both are hunters, both are intelligent, strategic in their hunt, and well-versed in hunting. These points are made evident in that rains ford strategically creates complicated hunting traps, thus injuring Zaroff and even killing his dog and his servant Ivan, as well as evident in Zaroff in that he recognizes each trap, avoids each to save himself, and even is able to find Rainsford quickly on the first day of the hunt but chooses to let him go with the intent of prolonging the fight. The differences come into play in terms of their morality; whereas Rainsford sees Zaroff's game as murder, Zaroff simply sees it as a challenge in which the strong must overtake the weak. Additionally, the two are foils in that Rainsford is a dynamic character while Zaroff is static. This last point is evident when considering that Rainsford's early comment stating "who cares what a jaguar feels?" shows his lack of concern for his prey, yet his opinion changes when he himself becomes the metaphoric jaguar, hence, Zaroff's prey. Zaroff's opinions, however, do not change nor evolve.

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