The short story “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell is composed of character, setting and conflict. One of the critical themes in the short story is irony, which plays a major role in the story. There is irony in the setting, a remote jungle island, the conflict, murder verses hunting, and the characters, General Zaroff who is a crazed man-hunter and Mr. Rainsford, his prey.
Irony is essential to the plot of the short story, “The Most Dangerous Game”. It can be recognized multiple times throughout the duration of the story, particularly within the literary elements conflict and characterization. The conflict is contradictory or off in many instances. Being that the hunter, Rainsford, becomes the hunted. Zaroff identifies the conflict as he states: “ You’ll find this game worth playing…Outdoor chess! And the stake is not without value, eh?”(Connell 21). This quote is when Zaroff first decides to inform Rainsford that they will be playing the game. Another twist of the unexpected is when Zaroff was so engrossed in the thrill of the game that he forgot about its danger. Zaroff left himself vulnerable to attack, forgetting that in “outdoor chess”, there were two possible victors. The roles of the hunter and the hunted were again switched, as proven in the quote, “A man, who had been hiding in the curtains of the bed, was standing there”(Connell 27). Here, Rainsford decides to “trade” roles with Zaroff, only further proving that the conflict was ironic.
The characters are ironic for various reasons. Zaroff is a rich, respected, intelligent, and seemingly civilized man. He turns out to be a psychotic hunter who experiences thrill from murder. His refined or sane side is represented in the following quote, “ ‘You’ll have a cocktail, Mr. Rainsford,’ he suggested. The cocktail was surpassingly good; and the table appointment were of the finest-the linen, the crystal, the silver, the china”(Connell 15). There are multiple other examples such as the...
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