In The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, an experienced hunter, Rainsford, is washed ashore onto a mysterious island when he fell off a yacht. After hearing gunshots nearby, Rainsford climbs his way up the cliff towards the only house on the island. He then meets a wealthy general, Zaroff, who shares his passion for hunting. However, Zaroff expresses that he hunts bigger and more dangerous game, men, and invites Rainsford to play Zaroff’s hunting game. Can Rainsford escape Zaroff’s hunting game? I believe that Rainsford and Zaroff behaved as humans and animals by treating his guest kindly, by killing other humans for fun, and by making traps to kill.
First, Rainsford and Zaroff act as humans by treating each other kindly. For instance, the lost hunter climbs his way up the mountain and made it to the only house. Zaroff took in Rainsford and treated him with the finest champagne, food, and luxuries. As an illustration for this, “The table appointments were of the finest – the linen, the crystal, the silver, the china”. They also enjoyed a conversation about their hunting experiences. This shows human qualities because Zaroff displayed a sense of morality, which is what differs humans from animals.
Second, Zaroff acts as an animal by killing/hunting men for fun. For example, Rainsford replies to Zaroff’s statement of hunting men with, “Civilized? And you shoot down men?” This shows Zaroff acts as an animal because in today’s society, people who were guilty of mass shootings or murders are called animals. Zaroff equates to one of those people. Even though Zaroff has trained and fed his prisoners, he has played with their lives and killed those who have done no harm. Zaroff had a lack of compassion and that is what makes him an animal. He has taken the lives of many people just for the pleasure.
Third, Rainsford behaves as an animal when he sets up traps to kill Zaroff during his hunt. For example, Rainsford made a Burmese Tiger pit that took out Zaroff’s only henchman, “Then he felt an impulse to cry aloud with joy, for he heard the sharp crackle of the breaking branches as the cover of the pit gave way; he heard the sharp scream of pain as the pointed stakes found their mark”. Zaroff later remarks that Rainsford has taken out one of his best “dogs” (his henchman). This shows the Rainsford acts as an animal because Zaroff deceived a person to their disadvantage. Just like what a jaguar or puma would do to kill their prey. They would form a trap by mimicking other animal’s mating calls to lure the prey to them, only to be eaten up.
In conclusion, Rainsford and Zaroff behave as humans by showing a sense of morality. Rainsford and Zaroff display animalistic behaviors by killing other human beings for fun and setting up traps to deceive others. As a lesson, Richard Connell was trying to share with his readers that in times of danger, humans will act as animals.