The Most Dangerous Game [summative assessment]
Topic 3: Describe examples of conflict in the story.
“The most dangerous game” by Richard Conell is a short story about a stimulating hunt that a professional hunter who is tired of hunting animals and wants to try something more strenuous and amusing – hunting humans. It presents two characters that have experienced the dangers and thrills of hunting throughout their whole life. Just by reading the title of this story, you can figure out that a large number of conflicts occur. After all, it is a dangerous game that will include two players, hunters in this case, battling each other and only one has to survive. This essay will contemplate and revolve around examples of conflicts that were manifested in the story. There are two types of conflict: external and internal. External conflict is a struggle that occurs between a character and outside forces, which can be the environment. Whereas internal conflict is a mental or emotional struggle that occurs within a character. The conflicts encountered during the story are definitely a struggle for “Survival of the Fittest”. You could say that the main conflict was the fight for survival between the protagonist and antagonist (man versus man).
Sanger Rainsford, the main character, suffered many conflicts. He came across a conflict with nature, a conflict with general Zaroff, a conflict with himself, and a conflict with fate. Not only did Rainsford experience these conflicts, but also his opponent general Zaroff. The conflict with general Zaroff versus Rainsford is the most apparent and obvious conflict. Zaroff uses Rainsford as his quarry to accomplish an entertaining yet dangerous game. Rainsford has to survive in the hunt against Zaroff and his cohort in crime, Ivan. He has to use his wit and knowledge to outsmart Zaroff who has been playing the “game” a lot longer than he has. Rainsford thought of strategies that he used in the past while hunting animals to escape and triumph over the general’s bloodcurdling and amusing game. He had to do anything and everything just to survive, which caused more conflicts to interfere. He had shown his tenacity to live by making traps. The two characters had to face each other in the ultimate test for survival. General Zaroff says, “It’s a game you see. I suggest to one of them that we go hunting. I give him a supply of food and an excellent hunting knife. I give him three hours to start. I am to follow, armed only with a pistol of the smallest caliber and range. If my quarry eludes me for three whole days, he wins the game. If I find him, he loses!” Rainsford said, “Hunting? General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder.” However, Rainsford ended up winning the game by killing Zaroff and sleeping on his bed. Rainsford resolved the conflict throughout the story and the suspense was eased from there. Hence, a hunter uses tricks against another hunter to stay alive. That’s exactly what Rainsford did in order to clinch the victory of this dangerous game.
The second type of this conflict occurred at the beginning of the story where Rainsford and his partner Whitney debate about hunting. Rainsford finds hunting to be the greatest sport and shows no empathy for his prey. He believes that the world is made up of two classes – the hunter and the hunted, while Whitney disagrees with his point of view. Throughout the story, Rainsford experiences karma and the fear of being hunted.
Many of Rainsford’s actions had to be carefully thought of, that is why he had internal conflicts. The most important conflicts on this story were with his inner self (Human versus self). During the game, he is internally debating the decisions as he is hoping to survive. One of the decisions he had to come up with rapidly was to decide which island to swim to. After General Zaroff had explained the game to Rainsford, he had to also make another decision. He had to also decide what traps to put out. Rainsford kept battling his pretty strong emotions, namely fear, in his fight against Zaroff. Rainsford realizes the painful way that being hunted isn’t fun, whether it's a beast or human. The General also experienced conflict within himself at the time when he treats life as a game “God made me a hunter”. He realized that hunting animals began to bore him so he decided to move on to the next stage, hunting humans. Boredom is an internal conflict Zaroff tries to overcome through his twisted game. Ultimately, it leads to his demise.
Character versus Nature is a conflict that also shows the character struggling to survive against the natural elements. Rainsford had a conflict with the sea when he fell off his yacht. He had faced many hardships and had to do it to survive or the waves take him away. He also had to survive on an unknown island running in the jungle blindly in the mist and the black sky to escape from the General. Surviving in the jungle at night itself presents special challenges and conflicts to Rainsford.
Character versus society is a type of conflict when a character fights against the social traditions or rules. This conflict only entails the General that decided to buy his own island for his own leisure. To hunt humans is permanently unacceptable in society. Zaroff violates that rule and creates his own rule to keep himself indulged.
Character versus fate is the last conflict that will be proclaimed in this essay. Zaroff and Rainsford both fought against destiny from the commencement of the hunt. Who was going to win this dangerous game? Who was going to outsmart whom? Albeit the general is more experienced than Rainsford when it comes to hunting, he still lost to the hunt. Rainsford set up traps to outsmart his foe and used his skills to evade the hunt. He reached his destiny by putting all his effort in this survival game. Each conflict pinpointed in this essay was resolved at the dénouement of this story. Sanger Rainsford and General Zaroff had overcome many conflicts in this short story. Rainsford was the only character that made the precise decisions each time. Suspense was the key to all of these conflicts and they changed Rainsford’s life.
- “The Most Dangerous Game” quotes taken from the story