The Most Dangerous Game vs the Lottery

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“The Lottery” written by Shirley Jackson and “The Most Dangerous Game” written by Richard Connell share a common theme of violence and cruelty. In “The Most Dangerous Game” humans are hunted, as mere animals, to serve as the perfect prey to satisfy a desire for challenge. In “The Lottery” the townspeople are forced to participate in a ritual that will result in the death of an unwilling participant to satisfy a belief that the sacrifice of one of their own will guarantee a bountiful harvest. By comparison, the elements of violence and cruelty demonstrate the self-centeredness that abounds in each story. The Taking of Life for Personal Satisfaction

In “The Most Dangerous Game,” Connell depicts Rainsford, the protagonist of the story, as a seasoned hunter. Through a conversation with his friend Whitney, the reader learns of Rainsford’s lack of sympathy for his prey, despite Whitney’s assertion that the prey has a complete understanding of fear, “the fear of pain and the fear of death”. This information reveals to the reader Rainsford’s matter-of-fact attitude toward the emotions of the hunter and the hunted. Through a twist of fate, Rainsford is stranded on an island, which he is drawn to by gun fire after falling off a boat, where he encounters General Zaroff. Zaroff is initially portrayed as an accommodating host, offering Rainsford food, clothing, and a place to rest.

The two men discuss their various hunting ventures and, through this conversation, Zaroff’s sinister nature is revealed. Zaroff is a sadistic man who has become bored with hunting animals, as they are no longer a match for him. “Every day I hunt, and I never grow bored now, for I have a quarry with which I can match my wits,” boasts the General, epitomizing his hunger for a challenge. The plot of the story unfolds further as Zaroff describes in detail how the human is the ideal prey. General Zaroff’s casual disregard for human life allows Rainsford to carefully reconsider the...
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