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The Most Dangerous Game

by Richard Edward Connell

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Why does Zaroff lose interest in hunting and how does he regain it?

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During Rainsford and General Zaroff's first meal together, the general explains to Rainsford that he had become such an expert hunter that his quarry was no longer challenging. Zaroff proceeds to tell Rainsford that hunting became too easy and ceased to thrill him. In order to regain his interest, General Zaroff decided to establish an estate on Ship-Trap Island and begin hunting humans. Zaroff considers humans the most dangerous game because they do not rely solely on instinct like wild animals. The general explains that humans possess the ability to reason, which makes them apex predators and the most dangerous quarry. After listening to the general describe how hunting humans has restored his affinity for hunting, Rainsford is appalled and calls Zaroff a murderer. The general then proceeds to hunt Rainsford throughout the island for three days and Rainsford is able to narrowly survive before he ends up killing Zaroff.

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When Rainsford comments upon the cape buffalo being the most dangerous game (prey), in Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game," Zaroff disagrees. He states that the prey on his island is "the biggest." Given the animal is not natural to the island, Zaroff must import it. Rainsford suggests tigers, but Zaroff states that tigers no longer pose a danger or challenge for him. Bored with traditional hunting, because it offers no challenge, Zaroff has "invented a new sensation." Having hunted every animal, in every land, Zaroff no longer feels challenged by the animals at his disposal. 

This new sensation, the new prey, is man. Man, according to Zaroff, is the only animal capable of reason. Through possession of this ability, man poses a threat and challenge for Zaroff. 

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