Sanger Rainsford and General Zaroff are very alike in some ways. Both want to have the upper hand in an argument or situation. In the beginning of “The Most Dangerous Game”, Zaroff has the upper hand as he knows the terrain and has a threatening bodyguard. He allowed Rainsford to eat and stay at his château after he fell overboard. At the end of the story, Rainsford has the upper hand as he won “the game”, surprises Zaroff, and forces Zaroff to play the game he forced himself (Rainsford) to play.
Both men enjoy hunting—although Zaroff savors it in more ways than Rainsford. Rainsford hunts for sport and has less experience. He writes about the animals he hunts, like snow leopards in Tibet. Zaroff has hunted everywhere and hunted everything and yet he says that it no longer thrills him. Altogether, both are expert hunters and both have military experience—Zaroff from being a Cossack and Rainsford from fighting in France in World War 1.
In the beginning, Rainsford is the hunted and Zaroff is the hunter. It twists at the end, with Zaroff being the hunted and Rainsford the hunter. Both would rather be the predator than the prey.
Both are very respectful of each other (until Rainsford learns Zaroff is a murderer). They have educated and civilized backgrounds. In the end, it says “In his library he read, to soothe himself, from the works of Marcus Aurelius.” Aurelius was a Roman emperor and philosopher from the early centuries. Over the entire story, he hums bits from a variety of musicals and operas. Both Zaroff and Rainsford think that they are right morally, and in today’s age, Zaroff would be the one under ethical discussion. Zaroff thinks that he is an “angel of mercy” by taking what he thinks to be the “scum of the earth” off the earth: lascars, blacks, Chinese, whites, and mongrels, according to him. Rainsford has what Zaroff calls a mid-Victorian point of view; thinking that every life is important and no man should...