Study Guide

Cato in The Hunger Games

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Cato, from District 2, is the strongest and most threatening male tribute in the Hunger Games. He is Katniss's main competition. Cato is a Career Tribute from one of the wealthiest districts in Panem, who has trained his whole life for the glory of the Games. For him, the Hunger Games are not so much a death sentence as a shot at eternal fame. As such, Cato is a character who is associated with power, strength, wealth, and brutality.

Cato suffers a particularly slow and agonizing death at the hands of the Gamemakers' pack of mutant dogs. The Gamemakers refuse to step in and end his suffering and instead further dehumanize him by playing up the entertainment value of his death:

"Why don't they kill him?" I ask Peeta.

"You know why," he says, and pulls me closer to him.

And I do. No viewer could turn away from the show now. From the Gamemakers' point of view, this is the final word in entertainment. (25.42-25.44)

His death signals that even the wealthiest tributes are no match against the Gamemakers' cruelty. His loss in the Games makes us ask what kind of strength it really takes to win the Hunger Games.

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