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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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In "The Most Dangerous Game," what is General Zaroff's view of the sailors he trains?

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General Zaroff has a rather low opinion of the sailors he hunts on Ship-Trap Island and views them as subhuman. During Rainsford's first meal with the general, he is astonished to discover that Zaroff hunts humans on his island, because they have the capacity to reason.

General Zaroff has a cavalier view of his unique situation and does not consider himself a murderer. The general insists that life is to be lived by the strong and firmly believes that weak individuals were put on the earth to give the strong pleasure. General Zaroff goes on to refer to the sailors he hunts as the "scum of the earth" and "tramps" living on ships. General Zaroff also comments that a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them.

Rainsford is also astonished to learn that the general has a training school in the cellar his chateau, where he trains and conditions the shipwrecked sailors to navigate the jungle before he hunts them throughout his island.

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While sitting down with Rainsford on his first night on ShipTrap Island, General Zaroff tells Rainsford all about the new game that he has decided to hunt.  During this conversation, Zaroff tells Rainsford how he feels about his new prey.  He 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. 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--lassars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels--a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them."

Therefore, Zaroff's opinion of the sailors is not a very good one.  He feels that they are low class and not as worthy as he is or even as worthy as a horse or dog.

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