Literary Analysis: the Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

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As Brian Herbert quoted in Dune: House Harkonen, "A man faced with a life or death situation must commit himself, or he will remain caught in the pendulum" (Herbert 713). Imagine a man with no conscious, no heart, no sense of wrong, a man who kills for enjoyment, a man who murders for the thrill. Would you be able to commit yourself? This is the man that pursues you. What choice do you have; you must fight even if it ultimately means death. You must commit to your life or face the consequence of death. These are the feelings of Rainsford as Zaroff pursues him throughout a shadowy, unfamiliar jungle depicted by Richard Connell in "The Most Dangerous Game." Rainsford is stranded on an island inhabited by a hunter, Zaroff, who hunts human prey. The blood pounds through Rainsford's head as he surges forward trying to escape an undefeated, inescapable foe. He is the mouse, and Zaroff is the cat torturing his prey. Zaroff's actions and morals show us that he is monster and a beast.

Zaroff is a man with two faces; one like a gentleman, and the other like a fiend. When Rainsford first meets Zaroff, Zaroff is courteous, hospitable, and honorable; he takes Rainsford in, gives him clothes, dinner, wine, and a place to stay. However throughout the course of the evening and dinner, Zaroff's character takes a drastic and radical darkening. "The weak [men] of the world were put here to give the strong pleasure," (Connell 799) says Zaroff over a glass of wine. "I am strong," (Connell 799) he continues to say. Zaroff hunted captured humans as a hobby and a sport! Rainsford is appalled at this, and Zaroff eventually continues to tell Rainsford of his intention to hunt him: "You'll find this game worth playing...Your brain against mine. Your woodcraft against mine. Your strength and stamina against mine. Outdoor chess! And the stake is not without value, eh?" (Connell 801). Zaroff is so corrupt that he doesn't even understand what he is doing is wrong; he appears so nice on the...
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