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The Most Dangerous Game Plot Diagram
Transcript of The Most Dangerous Game Plot Diagram
by Richard Connell
Man vs. Man
General Zaroff has become bored with hunting animals, so turns to using humans as game. Rainsford falls into his clutches and must escape him or be hunted and killed like an animal.
Man vs. Himself
Rainsford has to fight his fear, to keep himself sane and alert. He seems to have an internal struggle within himself to keep going and use what resources he has.
Rainsford and his good hunting friend, Whitney, are sailing through the Caribbean to Rio for a big game hunt. One night they pass a dark island, Ship-Trap Island, a place feared by seafaring men.
Whitney goes below deck to sleep, but Rainsford stays to smoke a pipe. He hears a gun shot and jumps up onto the railing to get a better look through the moist black velvet of night. His pipe is knocked from his mouth and in a effort to catch it, Rainsford looses his balance and falls into the sea. Lost in the dark, he swims toward the island, where he last heard the gunshot.
Rainsford finds a large mansion on the island, owned by General Zaroff. The man is friendly, inviting him in to a elaborate meal. He speaks highly of Rainsford's books and hunting.
Then General Zaroff begins speaking of his past dilemma of his life passion becoming a bore. The animals he hunted, no matter how dangerous, were simply not enough of a challenge. His solution for this problem was turning to a more dangerous game.
Rainsford is not permitted to leave the island. The General is delighted to use him as his next target. He will give him a three hour start, and if the General does not catch Rainsford by midnight of the third day, he will admit his defeat and Rainsford will be allowed to go home.
But the General does not always fight fair.
The General comes after Rainsford three times, and each time Rainsford uses things he learned from his hunts all over the world. General Zaroff is forced to bring out the dogs, chasing Rainsford to a cliff and forcing him to make a decision: face certain death with the General and dogs, or take a leap of faith off the cliff into the swirling white water bellow. Rainsford makes the jump, disappearing into the waves below. General returns to his home, victory hanging sweetly in his mind.
After an exceedingly good dinner in his great paneled dining hall, a drink, and a good read to sooth himself, General Zaroff makes his way to bed. It seems he has won, though he can't help but have a feeling of dissatisfaction. As he gets ready to tuck in for the night, Rainsford appears. General Zaroff is pleased. Now he is able to finish him off once and for all. If Rainford loses, he will be fed to the hounds.
Ship-Trap Island is a piece of land situated in the Caribbean sea, somewhere close to Rio. It is covered in dense jungle, with varied hills and swamps. It is feared by sailors, rumored to pull in ships who's passengers are never heard from again.
A renowned hunter, famous for his hunting adventures and exceptional at what he does. A realist to sticks to what is true and sensible.
Rainsford's good hunting friend. Fancies himself a philosopher.
A simple fellow, deaf and dumb, but like all Cossacks, a bit savage.
A wealthy man who became bored with his sport when he achieved perfection. So he turned to other devices: hunting something more intelligent.
The first foreshadowing of the theme is set up by Whitney, who suggests that animals can understand fear. Rainsford scoffs at the idea. Then through General Zaroff, Rainsford is put in the place of the prey, throwing him into this understanding of fear of death and pain.
Animals do not have true understanding, but people do. And for this reason, among countless others, men have worth.
Rainsford and his good hunting friend, Whitney, are on their way through the Caribbean to Rio, where they will undergo an exciting jaguar hunt. On their way, they pass Ship-Trap Island, a place feared by sailors. Whitney retires and Rainsford is left on his own on the afterdeck, smoking his pipe when he hears a gunshot. In an effort to find the source, Rainsford falls into the sea, his only option is to swim to the island. There he meets General Zaroff, a sportsman who has perfected his craft, leading him to boredom. His solution? Hunting something more intelligent. Rainsford will be next. Will he survive the three days given for his suvival? Or will he be defeated by the General, who hasn't lost yet?
But it is not so...
It is Ransford that sleeps in the General's luxurious bed that night. In one brief sentence, the author concludes that Rainsford is the victor.
"'I drink to a foeman worthy of my steel--at last'" ... "Your brain against mine. Your woodcraft against mine. Your strength and stamina against mine.'"
"Then it was that Rainsford knew the full meaning of terror. 'I will not ose my nerve. I will not.'"