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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game."

Summary:

General Zaroff is the antagonist in "The Most Dangerous Game." He is a sophisticated yet sadistic hunter who has grown bored with traditional game hunting. To satiate his desire for a greater challenge, he hunts human beings on his isolated island, viewing them as the most dangerous and thrilling prey.

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What animal does Zaroff hunt in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

The name of the new animal that General Zaroff hunts is Homo sapien. In layman's terms, General Zaroff has started hunting humans.  

While talking to Rainsford, General Zaroff admits that he is bored with hunting all other types of prey.  He is no longer excited by hunting things like lions, tigers, and bears (oh my).  

"They were no match at all for a hunter with his wits about him, and a high-powered rifle. I was bitterly disappointed. I was lying in my tent with a splitting headache one night when a terrible thought pushed its way into my mind. Hunting was beginning to bore me!"

Basically, Zaroff feels that hunting has become too easy to be exciting. The problem, as Zaroff sees it, is that the animals operate on instinct. He believes that instinct is no match for reason, so Zaroff needs to find and hunt an animal that can reason.  

"It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason."

Rainsford quickly responds by saying that no animal can reason. It's then that Zaroff tells Rainsford that he now hunts humans because humans can think and reason.  

"That is why I use them. It gives me pleasure. They can reason, after a fashion. So they are dangerous."

In fact, Zaroff stocks his island with human prey.  He deviously captures ships in order to capture crew members.  Zaroff then feeds the prisoners and exercises them.  That way his prey are in peak physical condition before being hunted.  

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What animal does Zaroff hunt in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Zaroff has become a bloodthirsty madman of sorts, and as such, decides that humans truly represent "The Most Dangerous Game," hence the title. He tells Rainsford that humans can reason, plan, and scheme, unlike many wild animals, and therefore they pose a greater challenge than the species he has already hunted.

Many of his kills have been taxidermied and placed upon the walls of his palatial home, stirring conversation between he and Rainsford. As the plot unfolds, we discover that Zaroff has evolved into a monster of sorts, trapping sailors and stragglers on his private island and hunting them for sport.

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What animal does Zaroff hunt in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Zaroff decides that hunting regular game – jaguars, tigers, etc. – is no longer challenging because these types of game animals have no ability to think or reason.  He decides that the best type of animal to hunt would be one that does have these abilities.  Since Zaroff values these the abilities to think and reason he wants to find a type of game or animal that he can hunt that will be able to display these qualities.  It is for this reason that he stops hunting regular animals and begins to hunt men.  Zaroff conveniently lives on Ship Trap Island – a place well known for trapping lost sailors.  He finds this as an opportunity to hunt the game that would challenge him most – men. 

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What animal does Zaroff hunt in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is the antagonist in Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game." He owns a secluded island in the Caribbean Sea where he indulges in his favorite pastime, hunting. When Sanger Rainsford, a big game hunter from New York, blunders onto Zaroff's island, the general invites him to dinner and describes his passion for hunting. The general has hunted all over the world and pitted his skills against dangerous animals such as tigers, grizzlies, and the Cape buffalo. Unfortunately, Zaroff discovers that he has grown bored with hunting such animals. For him, it has become too easy. He admits to Rainsford that he had to "invent a new animal" which would provide more of a challenge or else, Zaroff believed, "he would go to pieces." Rainsford, of course, is quite interested in this new animal until Zaroff admits that he actually hunts men. The general understood that only a reasoning animal could provide the type of danger he craved. Thus, he began hunting the sailors who had become shipwrecked on his island. Zaroff rationalizes this abhorrent practice by believing that it is his right, as a superior human being, to hunt men of lesser intellectual prowess. He tells Rainsford,

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 Zaroff invites Rainsford to hunt with him, the American refuses, calling the general uncivilized. Because he is steadfast in his refusal, Rainsford eventually becomes one of Zaroff's new animals, and the second half of the story recounts Zaroff's pursuit of Rainsford through the island's jungles.

The title of the story is an example of verbal irony. The term "game" has two meanings in this title. First, it describes a hunted animal as being dangerous game because it can sometimes turn violently on the hunter. Second, the title refers to the dangerous game being played between Zaroff and Rainsford in which Zaroff is ultimately killed.

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What animal does Zaroff hunt in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

In short, the new animal that General Zaroff decided to hunt is man. The more important question is why Zaroff created this "new animal."

When Rainsford met Zaroff, Zaroff seemed to be a sophisticated and generous host, even if a few things about him seemed odd. As Rainsford got to know him better, he found out that Zaroff was fond of hunting. In fact, he read many of Rainsford's books on the subject. 

Zaroff was such an accomplished hunter that he wanted more of a challenge. So, he created a new game and animal to hunt. Hunting people for a challenge was Zaroff's invention. Here he is in his own words:

"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."

The general lit a fresh cigarette.

"No animal had a chance with me any more. That is no boast; it is a mathematical certainty. The animal had nothing but his legs and his instinct. Instinct is no match for reason. When I thought of this it was a tragic moment for me, I can tell you."

In conclusion, because Zaroff was bored and wanted a greater challenge, he started hunting people. In the end, he would meet his match in Rainsford. The hunter became the hunted. 

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What animal does Zaroff hunt in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Zaroff hunts humans. He is bored with hunting animals. He has a new type of animal that he is hunting--human beings. 

When Rainsford lands on the island, he learns quickly that Zaroff has a bizarre hobby. Rainsford learns that Zaroff plans to hunt Rainsford:

While he shares both an interest in hunting and a refined nature with Zaroff, Rainsford believes Zaroff's sport to be brutal and Zaroff himself to be a murderer. As the object of the hunt, Rainsford constantly attempts to preserve his ''nerve" and uses his knowledge of hunting and trapping to elude Zaroff. 

Rainsford has to try and escape from Zaroff. For three days, Rainsford does just that. He manages to kill Ivan in a trap. 

Zaroff is more intense than ever after Ivan's death. Finally, Rainsford has to jump from a cliff to save his own life. Rainsford sneaks into Zaroff's house before Zaroff does. Rainsford is waiting behind the curtain and he surprises Zaroff:

Rainsford surprises Zaroff in his bedroom. Rainsford refuses to end the game there, however, and kills Zaroff. Rainsford then spends a comfortable night in Zaroff's bed, 

The ending of the story leaves the reader to his imagination as to whether or not Rainsford will become the next Zaroff:

Rainsford then spends a comfortable night in Zaroff's bed, which raises the question of whether he will simply replace the evil Zaroff.

Will Rainsford carry on in Zaroff's place and begin hunting humans? Hopefully, Rainsford has better sense. 

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What defeats General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is defeated by the cunning prowess of Rainsford.  General Zaroff wanted to hunt his ideal quarry which possess the attributes of: "courage, cunning, and above all the ability to reason."  General Zaroff believed that life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong.  The weak of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure."  Obviously  Rainsford possessed all of the above attributes and showed that he was the strong one and Zaroff was the weak one.

Reference:  The Language and Literature Book by McDougal Littell

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What defeats General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Literally, General Zaroff is killed by Rainsford; however, on a more figurative level, I believe that Zaroff was more aptly defeated by  the brutal passion he thrives on when it comes to hunting the most challenging animal of all--man.  This is what truly led to his death.

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What defeats General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is defeated when Rainsford jumps off of a cliff and Zaroff believes that Rainsford has taken the coward's way out of his game. He goes home and retires to bed for the night only to find that Rainsford is in his bedroom. Rainsford turn Zaroff out for the night, reminding him of his promise that if Rainsford could elude capture and death for three days he would win the game. Zaroff, being a gentleman of his word, leaves his palatial mansion and the hounds are heard baying in the distance, the thought is that Zaroff loses at his own game. 

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How does Zaroff die in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

General Zaroff is used to getting the better of the people he takes on as human prey. Ordinarily, he is supported by his large assistant, Ivan. At the end of this story, he finds himself at a disadvantage: Ivan has been removed from the equation, and Rainsford is quicker of thinking and stronger of nerve than some of Zaroff's other quarries have been.

As such, Zaroff does not take enough care to consider what Rainsford might do to him. He is too focused on what he plans to do to Rainsford. At the end of the story, after having had a good dinner with a bottle of champagne and half a bottle of wine, Zaroff sits and thinks to himself how annoyed he is that he no longer has Ivan and also that Rainsford did not "play the game." Instead, Rainsford has, as Zaroff thinks, escaped by suicide.
Ultimately, however, he discovers that Rainsford is very much still alive. He has swum around to the house and snuck inside, waiting in Zaroff's bed when the general comes in that night. Rainsford tells the general that he is still "a beast at bay" and that the general should get ready to be attacked. The general bows and says he understands.
Splendid! One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed.
The story ends in revealing that Rainsford "had never slept in a better bed." The implication, then, is that the general is killed by Rainsford and fed to his own hounds.
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Does Zaroff's belief in his invincibility cause his defeat in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

During Zaroff's first meal with Rainsford, he demonstrates confidence in his hunting abilities by explaining to Rainsford that hunting has "ceased to be what you call 'a sporting proposition'" (Connell, 7). Zaroff proceeds to tell Rainsford that his success as a hunter is a "mathematical certainty," and he always gets his quarry. Zaroff boasts that "There is no greater bore than perfection," and animals have literally no chance of ever competing with his ability to reason, which is why he was motivated to hunt humans. Zaroff's comments emphasize his personal belief in his own invincibility as he proceeds to challenge Rainsford in the hunt.

During the hunt, Zaroff once again demonstrates his overconfidence by allowing Rainsford to live after the first day of the competition. Zaroff successfully follows Rainsford's trail through the forest at night but decides to walk away after discovering Rainsford in a tree the following morning. Zaroff's decision to allow Rainsford to live underscores his hubris, which eventually costs him his life. As the hunt continues, Zaroff significantly underestimates Rainsford's abilities and falls victim to his numerous traps. At the end of the story, Rainsford challenges Zaroff in hand-to-hand combat and defeats the maniacal general. One could argue that Zaroff's belief in his own infallibility led to his demise, as Rainsford outsmarted him at every turn and eventually defeated Zaroff in his own bedchamber. Zaroff incorrectly assumed that Rainford was no match for him, which turned out to be a disastrous miscalculation.

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Does Zaroff's belief in his invincibility cause his defeat in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

While Zaroff and Rainsford are having dinner, Zaroff explains why hunting has become so boring to him. He says, "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." He hasn't yet told Rainsford that his bright idea to rekindle his passion for hunting is to hunt humans. Zaroff claims that animals rely on instinct while he relies on his skill and his ability to reason. He says, "instinct is no match for reason." He therefore, needs to hunt an animal with the ability to reason. But even hunting prey with reason (humans) he has never lost to a human prey. So, given his record, he doesn't have reason to believe it is likely that he will lose. Therefore, he is correct that, given the mathematics of his perfect record, he will probably win. However, there is evidence to suggest that this proud belief in his own record and abilities as a hunter does lead to his downfall. And this has to do with Rainsford's changing mindset. 

Both men are accomplished hunters. It is the most evenly matched game Zaroff has ever had, yet he still thinks he will win. They both have reason and supreme hunting skills. What sets them apart is that Zaroff is oozing with confidence. Rainsford, for the first time, experiences fear and terror. Note that when he was on the yacht with Whitney, he claimed that the animals feel no fear nor pain. This is poetic justice for Rainsford who now knows that fear. His fear has heightened his senses, and his focused determination to survive gives him an edge over Zaroff. If they are both nearly equal in terms of reason and hunting skills, then this is the variable (difference) between the two of them. 

When Rainsford wins the game, he does not stop playing. He says he is still "a beast at bay." He is therefore still fighting for his life. Some critics will say that Rainsford has become the hunter and there is truth to this. But Rainsford also uses his new knowledge of fear (as the hunted) in order to make him more inclined to vengeance, and thus more inclined to murder another man, a proposition that sickened him when he first arrived the island. He has become hunted and hunter all in one. This is something that Zaroff, in his simplistic dichotomy of the world of hunters and "huntees" does not understand. 

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What is General Zaroff's hunting procedure in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

During dinner on the first evening, General Zaroff reveals to Rainsford his fascination with hunting and casually mentions that he hunts humans throughout his private island for sport. Rainsford is appalled by Zaroff's confession, and Zaroff continues to elaborate on his maniacal routine.

Zaroff describes the procedures for the most dangerous game by explaining the primitive rules and conditions. Zaroff tells Rainsford that he begins by suggesting to his captive that they go hunting. If the person refuses to participate in the game, Ivan tortures them. Once they decide to participate, Zaroff gives them a supply of food and an excellent hunting knife. He then gives his victim a three-hours head start before following them with a pistol of the smallest caliber.

General Zaroff also enjoys hunting at night and begins the game shortly after his evening meal. By the time the general begins hunting, it is dark, and he relies on his acute senses and expertise. Once the most dangerous game begins, Zaroff carefully examines the forest floor and vegetation for clues in order to track Rainsford. Rainsford is impressed and frightened by Zaroff's ability to follow a nearly impossible trail in the forest at night. Although he locates Rainsford the first day, he does not kill him and returns home.

As the hunt becomes more difficult, Zaroff relies on his hunting dogs to track Rainsford. Zaroff also conveniently returns to his chateau at various points in the game to recuperate before returning to the hunt. After injuring his shoulder and losing his prized hunting dog, Zaroff returns with a pack of hunting dogs and Ivan by his side. Even though Zaroff utilizes a pack of hunting dogs and his servant Ivan, he continues to follow the rules of the game by wielding a small-caliber pistol.

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Which animal injured Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

The animal that gave General Zaroff a difficult time and actually injured him was a Cape buffalo.  

Readers learn this detail as General Zaroff and Rainsford are getting to know each other over dinner and some drinks. Rainsford compliments General Zaroff on his collection of trophy heads from his hunts. Rainsford then comments that the head of the Cape buffalo is the largest that he has ever seen.

"You have some wonderful heads here," said Rainsford as he ate a particularly well-cooked filet mignon. "That Cape buffalo is the largest I ever saw."

Zaroff admits that the buffalo was indeed a "monster" of a kill. Rainsford is a bit curious about the encounter, so he asks Zaroff if the buffalo charged. Zaroff confirms that it did charge and threw him against a tree. The impact fractured Zaroff's skull, but he was still able to kill the creature.

"Oh, that fellow. Yes, he was a monster."

"Did he charge you?"

"Hurled me against a tree," said the general. "Fractured my skull. But I got the brute."

In my opinion, the buffalo isn't the only animal that gave Zaroff a difficult time. Rainsford successfully evades Zaroff for days, which is not something that Zaroff was used to. Rainsford gives Zaroff such a difficult time that Zaroff never successfully kills his prey. Instead, Rainsford kills Zaroff. 

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In "The Most Dangerous Game," what happens to General Zaroff at the end?

We cannot be 100% sure of what finally happens to General Zaroff, but the author makes very strong suggestions as to the outcome of the battle of wits between the two men. Evidently Richard Edward Connell decided that a violent ending would detract from the main drama in the story, which consists of one man being hunted through dense tropical vegetation by a skilled, sadistic hunter armed with a gun. Connell evidently wanted to keep it a battle of wits rather than a physical confrontation. So the end is swift and final. Everything that is needed to visualize what happens to Zaroff is contained in his dialogue when he discovers Sanger Rainsford waiting for him in his bedroom.

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." . .

The term "On guard" is only used in dueling with swords.

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

Since Rainsford spends the night in Zaroff's bed, we understand that the two men had a sword fight in Zaroff's bedroom, Zaroff was mortally wounded, and then Rainsford got his final revenge by feeding the dead or dying man to his own savage, hungry hounds.

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How would you defeat General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

I may have tried to hide out near the false canal where Zaroff lured ships in to break up on the rocks. There may have been a chance to find a skiff from one of the boats or even signal a ship before it broke up and sunk. 

Chances of this plan working do seem slim though.

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How would you defeat General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

I think I would have realized it was hopeless to try to elude Zaroff on his own island, and I have no knowledge about building traps or other such defensive devices. I would probably have taken a chance on swimming out to sea and trying to go around behind the General as Rainsford finally did. If I could find a boat, as suggested in post #4, that would be great. (It occurs to me that Whitney might have turned back when he discovered that Rainsford was missing from the yacht. And if Rainsford had a boat, he might have a hope of reaching the yacht. But that is another story.)

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How would you defeat General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Honestly, I know nothing about hunting. I probably would have tried to steal a boat and get away, but I admit I would not have likely succeeded. My next best idea would be to work with the other captives to try to overthrow Zarroff and Ivan, though I admit I'm not sure exactly how.
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How would you defeat General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

In accord with the previous post, there are few men who could have defeated one so skillful and clever as General Zaroff, who also has so many sources that he can use.  Perhaps, one in the position of Rainsford, having heard of the sinister Ship-Trap Island, would not have been as bold as Rainsford to knock on the chateau door after sighting it. 

This action of Rainsford has always raised a credibility question for me as a reader.  Why did he not hide for the night near the shore and hope that his ship would look for him the following day? Or remain hidden and watch in the daylight for what activity is on this island? Of course, then, there would be no story such as it is with a character of the confidence and bravado of Rainsford.

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How would you defeat General Zaroff in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

I'm not sure that I would have had the survival skills (and definitely not the knowledge of booby-traps) that Rainsford possessed. Rainsford used his skills appropriately, and they kept him alive at the end. I used to throw a knife pretty well as a youngster, but even if I had been able to use the knife, there were two men and many dogs with which to deal. I am a good swimmer so, like Rainsford, I would have probably headed for the coast and attempted to swim for it rather than face Zaroff and his pack. However, Rainsford may have been the only man on earth capable of eluding Zaroff--both world-class hunters who rarely missed their prey.

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