Dr. Ray Gen  

English 9


“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell




The crisis and situation of the story concerns General Zaroff who hunted human beings for sport because hunting animals “ceased to be a sporting proposition.” Hunting people was more challenging because people can reason.  When the protagonist, Rainsford fell off his yacht, he swam to an isolated island and met Zaroff. The hospitable Zaroff suggested that Rainsford would enjoy hunting people. When Rainsford refused to hunt and would not keep Zaroff’s secret, Rainsford became the hunted.  After the initial panic, Rainsford began to reason as a hunter. He set out to elude Zaroff. When Zaroff was able to follow Rainsford’s difficult trail, Rainsford set three traps for Zaroff: the Malay man-catcher, a tiger trap, and a knife tied to a sapling. Zaroff defeated each of these and Rainsford jumped off a cliff.


The story is told from a third person perspective from Rainsford’s point of view. After Rainsford jumped, Zaroff is disappointed in the hunt because he had not personally killed. When Zaroff was about to retire, Rainsford appeared from the curtains and challenged Zaroff to a fight to the death that Rainsford won.


The conficts in this story include both internal (person vs. self) and external conflicts (person vs. person, nature, and society).  



Character Development:


Rainsford’s character did develop and change.  Rainsford went form the point of view which espoused, “Who cares how the jaguar feels?” to “I am still a beast at bay.”  He went from hunter to hunted.  Though the story does not specifically state that Rainsford would change his feelings about hunting, one could surmise that having been hunted, he would understand the fear of death within all animals.  Connell used both direct and indirect characterization to describe the characters.





1.  perfection – “There is no greater bore than perfection.”  Zaroff stated that hunting had become boring because he had perfected the hunt.  Zaroff hunted humans because they offered more than brute strength and instinct.


2.  civilized – Zaroff had the great refinements of a gentleman.  Zaroff said, “We do our best to preserve the amenities of civilization here.”  He was wealthy and cultured, wore fine clothing, lived in a palatial chateau, and had the best of manners. Yet the reader knows him to be uncivilized because he hunted people.


3.  will to survive – Rainsford learned the courage it took to survive the hunt. Rainsford “…was awakened by a sound that made him know that he had new things to learn about fear.”  Rainsford had to defeat the inner fear and survive.