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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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How does Zaroff finance his lifestyle in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

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General Zaroff is able to finance his lifestyle because he invested heavily in American securities.  Many of his countrymen had lost everything they had due to the 1917 Russian Revolution and the overthrowing of the Czar, but he was lucky that he thought ahead and left the country when he did, so he could support such a lavish way of life.

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In the exchange between Zaroff and Rainsford, we learn that Zaroff's father was a wealthy man: "He was a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea... ." So, readers can infer that part of Zaroff's financial success is partly because he had a wealthy father who probably passed on his wealth to his son.

General Zaroff was also an "officer of the Czar"--meaning he was a military man. This is also a source of income.

Zaroff also says that after the Russian Revolution of 1917 when communists overthrew the czar, he had to leave: "Many noble Russians lost everything. I, luckily, had invested heavily in American securities." Zaroff associates himself with noble Russians, making readers assume that he is of a higher, wealthier class. But instead of losing his fortunes, he invested in America's stock market which obviously paved a way for him to ensure financial stability.

Finally, when Rainsford is putting on clothes offered to him by Zaroff, he notices that the suit "came from a London tailor who ordinarily cut and sewed for none below the rank of duke." This tells the reader that Zaroff is simply no ordinary officer, but an official ranking officer with power. This substantiates some of his income as well.

Thus, we can infer that Zaroff has made money from his inheritance, the military, and investments.

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Zaroff was a Russian nobleman but after the revolution was forced to flee. He then invested in American securities and became wealthy that way.

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General Zaroff was the son of a Russian nobleman and entered the army; through his military service, he became a cavalry commander.  After the Russian Revolution, which took place in 1917 and resulted in a victory for the common people, Zaroff knew that it was not a good idea to stay in Russia, considering his status as a member of a noble family and his considerable wealth; to have remained in the country would have been to knowingly endanger his life.  Fortunately for him, Zaroff had the luck to have "invested heavily in American securities," so he did not lose his fortune as others did.  Because he maintained his wealth, he was able to continue to live a life of luxury and maintain and overwhelming sense of entitlement and conceit.

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How is Zaroff able to finance his lifestyle in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Zaroff inherited his money from his father, then invested it.

Zaroff is a Russian Cossack, and the son of a nobleman.  His father was “a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea” and he inherited this money.  He also served in the army, as was expected of noblemen’s sons.  After “the debacle in Russia,” Zaroff left the country.

Many noble Russians lost everything. I, luckily, had invested heavily in American securities, so I shall never have to open a tearoom in Monte Carlo or drive a taxi in Paris.

Zaroff’s wealth is what allowed him to create his own little private game reserve on a deserted island.  He built himself a chateau and lived off of his investments, having an excellent life.  Unfortunately, he amused himself by capturing and hunting down men.

The fact that he escaped the scandal in Russia relatively unscathed shows that Zaroff is very cunning.  As an expert in wiggling out of difficult situations, he seems untouchable.  He never faces any consequences for his actions, until he tries to take on Rainsford.  This is one of the main reasons Rainsford had to kill him.  There was no other way to stop him.

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How is Zaroff able to finance his lifestyle in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

Zaroff tells Rainsford the first night they meet that after the fall of the czar, he put money into American investments (unlike his less fortunate copatriots).

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How is Zaroff able to finance his lifestyle in "The Most Dangerous Game"?

While we are never specifically told how Zaroff has achieved his wealthy status, we can infer that he is an eccentric millionare, based upon his home, his furnishings, his attire, and other factors like servants. We do know that both he and Ivan are Russians; Cossacks to be more specific. And given the fact that his title is "General," we may also presume that he has had military experience. None of those factors, however, gives us a reason for Zaroff's bountiful lifestyle.  

How he has come to live on the island and hunt humans is not totally explained, although the General does say that he has hunted around the world, and killed exotic and dangerous animals previously. One might speculate that some of the General's wealth has been generated from the humans he traps and kills on his island, but certainly his victims' assets are not his sole means of support. For instance, the ships that crash into his strategically-placed rocks could carry any number of valuable items, and once they go down, they become Zaroff's for the taking. The reader is asked to engage in suspension of disbelief to make Zaroff into the character that he is.

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In "The Most Dangerous Game," how does Zaroff finance his lifestyle?

In disclosing very little about the game he hunts on the island, General Zaroff begins to give Rainsford a little background on Zaroff's lifestyle. Apparently, Zaroff comes from noble Russian stock and was a military officer for the Czar. Since the political climate changed in Russia, it was not appropriate for Zaroff to remain. Two details reveal where Zaroff's great wealth is still maintained.

First, readers are alerted that Zaroff comes from wealthy stock. In speaking of his own father Zaroff said this:

He was a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea.

Next, Zaroff admits that he found a profitable place to stash and grow his finances:

I, luckily, had invested heavily in American securities, so I shall never have to open a tearoom in Monte Carlo or drive a taxi in Paris.

Zaroff is likely living off the growth of his investments. Readers find his lifestyle to be quite abundant as he drinks fine wines, has very good fillet mignon, and has the finest clothes and home decor.

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