The Most Dangerous Game
by Richard Connell
The Most Dangerous Game Theme of Man and the Natural World
We’re thinking it’s more like man vs. the natural world in “The Most Dangerous Game.” After all, our main characters, Rainsford and Zaroff, basically see the natural world as something to be contained, controlled, opposed, and killed. Rainsford asserts his firm belief that animals do not experience fear and are just out there to be hunted by man.
General Zaroff takes it a few steps further, believing in a hierarchy of dangerous game animals, with the Cape Buffalo at the top. But Zaroff is too good a hunter for this game, and even the Cape Buffalo is an easy target. At this point, we take it one step further to man vs. man in the natural world. Because, hey, the natural world is just a sitting target to Zaroff.
Questions About Man and the Natural World
- How does the jungle serve almost as a character itself in the story?
- In “The Most Dangerous Game,” when men hunt animals, are they really entering the natural world, or are they just using the tools of “civilization” to commit murder out in the wild where laws don’t apply?
- According to Zaroff, if a hunter does not catch his prey, does that mean that man is inferior to nature?
Chew on This
Zaroff pits himself against the natural world by hunting animals, but he also uses nature (in the form of a jungle maze and a pack of dogs) to win, so it’s not like he is doing it all on his own.
Rainsford very cleverly uses nature to his advantage by enlisting trees and branches to create traps. He may not have succeeded if he had tried to survive by weapons alone.