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Most Dangerous Game

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November 12 2013
Period 2

Zaroff and Rainsford: Foils or Parallels?

General Zaroff and Rainsford from Richard Connel's “The Most Dangerous Game” are examples of foil characters with two very different personlaties as well as characteristics.These two characters are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Zaroff is the hunter and Rainsford is the prey in this story. Also, General Zaroff has very unethical ideas and hobbies. This is very different from Rainsford's humane beliefs. Lastly, Zaroff is far more ostentatious compared to Rainsford, who is more resourceful with his hunting experience. It is clear that their character traits differ greatly. To begin, Zaroff and Rainsford have two very different roles in “The Most Dangerous Game”. General Zaroff is perceived as the hunter and Rainsford is the prey. Zaroff presents a “game” where the two characters hunt each other. Although Rainsford wins this “game”, Zaroff is known as the hunter. This is because he is known for hunting humans. He has also never lost this “game” to any of his other opponents. Rainsford is seen as the prey (prior to him winning) because he is against hunting humans and considers it murder. He also appears to be afraid of Zaroff in the beginning. “ I wish to leave this island at once” (Connel 175). This represents his fear. Knowing this, it is automatically assumed that Zaroff will hunt and kill Rainsford. To continue, the two characters are considered foils because they have different beliefs and morals. General Zaroff is open about his hobby of hunting humans. He even ridicules Rainsford by saying that he “harbors romantic ideas about the value of human life” (Connel 172). On the other hand, Rainsford's character hunts animals. He considers it murder to hunt human beings. Zaroff's reason for hunting humans is that they are able to reason with the hunter, therefore making it more of a challenge to hunt them. One possible reason for this difference of morals are the nationality of the two men. General Zaroff is Russian while Rainsford is American. This could explain the difference because the culture and lifestyle of the two countries could cause its citizens to act in certain ways. Additionally, Zaroff and Rainsford are foil characters because of their behavior and character. In the story General Zaroff is ostentatious while Rainsford is more resourceful. Zaroff shows off his home and lifestyle when Rainsford is there. He also appears bossy in the story. He orders around Ivan and seems to brag about the people he is training in his basement. This might also be a reason that Zaroff loses the “game”. “'To date I have not lost,' he said” (Connel 174). He underestimates Rainsford's abilities and is too confident about himself. He is sure that he will win the game. Rainsford is considered resourceful because he uses features of the forest to build traps for Zaroff and his dogs multiple times in the story. He also uses his knowledge of hunting to create a trail thats difficult to follow by Zaroff. Rainsford relies on his talents while Zaroff seems to rely on other sources such as the hounds. In conclusion, General Zaroff and Rainsford represent foil characters in “The Most Dangerous Game”. They are two extremely different people with different beliefs and traits. Zaroff's character is an amoral one who likes to hunt humans. His character is also depicted as the showy and arrogant hunter. Rainsford on the other hand is ethical compared to Zaroff. He is also seen as the prey of the story. General Zaroff and Rainsford are very obvious examples of foil characters.

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