An Analysis of the Major Themes in The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

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What drives a man to kill? What evil forces lure a human to kill another human being in cold blood? The answers to these questions can be found in the story The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. In this story a couple of renowned hunters are on their way to pick up a shipment of guns and hunt game in the Amazon. The hunters are on the way to Rio when Rainsford falls overboard. Rainsford swims for miles in the dark and as luck would have it wakes up on what seems to be deserted island. He wonders around the island and stumbles upon a house, where he is greeted by Mr. Zaroff. Mr. Zaroff welcomes Rainsford into his home and asks him to participate in a hunting game. Raisford refuses to take part in the hunting of human beings and becomes the hunted. When Rainsford is introduced to Mr. Zaroff the first impression is the Mr. Žaroff is a member of the upper class and is a skilled hunter, but as the story progresses Mr. Zaroff proves to be cold-hearted.

When Rainsford first enters the house and is shown the bedroom he says, It was a huge, beam- ceilinged bedroom with a canopied bed big enough for six men (Connell 12). This statement gives the impression that it is a fairly large house. Rainsford also makes a comment about the dinning room saying. The dinning room in which Ivan conducted himself was in many ways remarkable. There was a medieval magnificence about it; it suggested a baronial hall of feudal times, with its oak panels, it s high ceiling, it s vast refectory table where twoscore men could sit down to eat (12).

This description depicts a marvelous home, not an average home. General Zaroff appeared in many ways to be refined, but towards the end of the story would prove to be a malicious killer. Not only did Rainsford assume that General Zaroff was wealthy, but he also got the impression that he was a renowned hunter. As he was walking down the hall he said, About the hall were the mounted heads of many animals- lions, tigers, elephants, moose, bears; larger or more perfect specimens Rainsford had never seen (12).

Rainsford himself is a famous hunter, for him to say that he had never seen more perfect specimens suggest that General Zaroff is an excellent hunter as well. Rainsford also says, You have some wonderful heads here That Cape buffalo is the largest I ever saw (13) In response to the comment made by Rainsford, General Zaroff said, I have but one passion in life and that is the hunt (13). It is made obvious by Rainsford s reaction to the heads that Rainsford thinks General Zaroff is an expert hunter. It is also apparent that Rainsford feels General Zaroff might be a better hunter than he is.

Towards the end of the story Rainsford s opinion of General Zaroff changes dramatically. Rainsford first thought General Zaroff to be a well-mannered member of the upper class, but as the story progresses General Zaroff proves to be indeed cold-hearted. General Zaroff may have once been a caring man, but when the hunting of animal game became old he became a cruel and heartless murderer.

Instead of hunting the same game, General Zaroff decided he would begin to hunt humans instead of animals. When Rainsford was asked to take part in this new hunt, his reply was, Good God General Zaroff, What you speak of is murder (15). After that comment General Zaroffs response was, I refuse to believe that so modern and civilized a young man as you seem to harbor romantic ideas about the value of human life (15). This is not the comment of a loving man, it is the statement of a cold hearted killer.

Though General Zaroff was a wealthy member of the upper class and a skilled hunter, his love of hunting turned him into a cold-hearted murderer. The Gerneral s desire to have the perfect game to hunt drove him to the hunting of human beings.


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An Analysis of the Major Themes in The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. (2023, Jan 04). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/an-analysis-of-the-major-themes-in-the-most-dangerous-game-by-richard-connell/

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