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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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Student Question

What type of irony is displayed when Zaroff says they "preserve civilization" in The Most Dangerous Game?

Expert Answers

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Numerous examples of irony exist within Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game." To be able to identify the different types of irony within the text, one must be able to define each type in question. 

Verbal irony exists when a person says something and means something else. Dramatic irony exists when the audience is aware of something that the characters are not.  Situational irony refers to when an outcome of something turns out to be very different from what was expected. 

In regards to number one, one may think that it is ironic that Zaroff says he tries to preserve civilization when, in fact, he is murdering humans. Since this is dialogue, it exists as verbal irony. Although Zaroff states that he is preserving civilization, he is not. 

For number two, one needs to look at Rainsford's ability to out-survive Zaroff. Although Zaroff is trying to kill Rainsford, Rainsford is able to kill Zaroff. Readers are unaware of this. 

For number three, readers are given clues as to what will happen. Therefore, they know what is going to happen and Zaroff does not. 

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