Have you ever thought how the prey feels when being hunted? Hunting for some hunters is seen as a way of survival because they hunt to be able to feed their family. For other it is a sport and they want is the adrenaline and to be able to have the animals head as a trophy. They do not care about the animal they just like the adrenaline they receive. Through the narration of Richard Connell “The most dangerous game” the author projects the ideas of a hunter, the feelings of being hunted and how certain situations can change people.
Richard Connell portraits two types of hunters: one that acknowledges that hunting is the best sport for the hunter not for the jaguar or any other animal and one that has a completely different thought because they hunt animals or humans. Rainsford’s thoughts about this is “You are a big-game hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels?” He believes animals have no understanding of fear of pain or death and that the world is made up of two classes: the hunters and the hunted.
Later on, through the story Rainsford finds himself in an island called “Ship-Trap Island”. In this island Rainsford meets General Zaroff. Where the General tells Rainsford the real purpose of the island and how he gets humans to the island. This is where the General tells him he uses the island to hunt people. The General has become a barbarian who has lost the abilily to differ between an animal or a human. The General hunts the sailors that have been shipwrecked on the island because of his techniques to attract the boat. After hearing about this Rainsford asks to leave the island, General Zaroff offered him that if Rainsford survives three days without being hunted by him Rainsford will win his freedom. This is the moment where the hunter became the hunted or the prey. “Now he had got a grip on himself, had stopped, and was taking stock of himself and the situation.” “The General was playing with him! The General was saving him for another day’s sport!” The Cossack was the cat, he was the mouse. This is when Rainsford knew the full meaning of terror as he had become the prey.
Throughout this situation Rainsford debates his morals. He understands that in order to survive he will have to kill person. Rainsford must kill the General to win his freedom, but this will make a murderer. To him killing an animal is not the same as killing a person because according to him animals do not have the sense fear, but humans do. He must decide whether to kill the General to survive or continue being hunted by him. Richard Connell story ends with Rainsford saying, “I am still a beast at bay, get ready General Zaroff.” To this the general’s response was that one of them will be the repast for the hounds while the other sleeps on that excellent bed. The writer finishes the story saying that Rainsford has never slept in a better bed. Throughout the story it can be inferred that Rainsford becomes the next General.
In conclusion, through out the story we see two major points how situations can shape you into something not expected and how it feels to be the hunter and the hunted. At the end of the story we see how Rainsford’s believes changed in order to survive. Rainsford realizes that he has to be able to kill the General in order to survive. He now understands how the animal must feel when they are being hunted. What we will not know is if Rainsford becomes the next General and continues to hunt the people left on the island or if Rainsford will let them go.
It leaves us in suspense if Rainsford’s moral change for good or only for the time of his survival.
If he only changed for his survival, then he may not be considered a murderer since it was to save his own life.
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