Literary analysis of “The most dangerous game”

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Both living beings struggle for life within themselves, with other species, and with nature. Richard Connel’s literary novel “the most dangerous game” presents incidents of a crisis between the predator and the victim in which both parties battle for life. General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford are portrayed as hunters who are uninterested in their prey. In “the most risky game,” there are three big crises. Man versus man, man versus self, and man versus nature crises Rainsford and Zaroff, the two hunters, have opposing views on the emotions of the hunter and the hunted, resulting in a crisis of rationality versus emotion. Based on reasoning, humans act with the sole objective of attaining personal satisfaction prompting wild animals to fight back as a survival instinct. As a result, varied forms of crisis are evident in the literary work.

The crisis of reason versus instinct is evident when Rainsford described hunting as “the best sport in the world” (Connel 1). Describing hunting as a sport disregards the dangers involved since the hunter’s life is endangered as the prey is likely to fight for survival. Some wild animals like tigers are fighters, and when faced with danger, they result in fighting making hunting dangerous rather than an interesting game. Zaroff is described as a sadistic hunter due to his ideology of hunting humans for fun. The general explicitly declares that no other hunting compares to human hunting as since he started the game, boredom is never part of his life (Connel 3). The author examines the life of animals to that of humans as similar since they both fight for survival when exposed to life or death situations. However, the degree of reason in animals is never the same as that of animals. Some animals have the instinct of fright, and others fight depending on the levels of danger. A crisis erupts in the different ideologies of Rainsford who hunts animals and general Zaroff who kills humans for fun. A crisis also erupts when Rainsford and general Zaroff do not agree on the most dangerous animal since the measure of danger is based on an individual’s experience in the jangle.

The issue of hunting creates a crisis on whether hunting is an exciting game or a danger to the hunter since the hunted fight for survival. A crisis of instinct versus reason also presents a question of whether hunting either animals or humans makes one a murderer or not. The ideologies of both Rainsford and Zaroff raises a crisis of whether the human life is worth more than animal life. Zaroff gains satisfaction and fun by hunting his kind and takes it to be a reasonable thing while Rainsford regards the general as a sadist with no human instinct. He views human hunting as murder. Rainsford’s ideology presents a crisis on the means to handle general Zaroff. It is within his instincts to fight but also does not believe in hunting or harming humans in any way. The reasoning makes him go against the general of ideology that assumes that all prey fight to survive. However, when placed in a situation between life and death, he is in crisis on whether to kill the general to live. Rainsford results to telling the general that there is a difference between murder and hunting and tells him that he is a hunter and should act like one. “….. What you speak of is murder” (Cornell 7).

The crisis of human versus nature is evident when general Zaroff explains his history to Rainsford. The general explains that humans are forged by nature where some are born poets, others kings, beggars among others but he was born a hunter (Cornell 6). His ideology conflict with that of Rainsford who believed that people’s behavior is a matter of choice. It was in the general’s nature to hunt which made him quit honorable professions like the military to be the hunter he believed he was born to be. The crisis is evident where despite his family being wealthy and capable of providing him with a more decent livelihood, his ideology pulled him to hunting. At one point while hunting in Africa, a cape buffalo hit him forcing him to quit shooting for six months but upon recovery, he went back to his old ways. (Connel 6)

In conclusion, “the most dangerous game” Richard Connel suggests that crisis is a universal phenomenon where people and nature are concerned since different people have different opinions about their surroundings. It is also evident that the human’s high level of reasoning and knowledge surpasses the animal’s instinct for survival. Humans often disregard all forces of nature to gain personal satisfaction leading to a crisis as the hunted fight for their chances to survive. It is therefore not known with certainty whether human life is worth more than that of animals, or what animals feel about hunting since they cannot express their feelings. “The most dangerous game is, therefore, a literary work that explains the various levels of crisis based on reasoning and instinct.

Work cited

Connell, Richard. The Most Dangerous Game, 2017. http://www.dukeofdefinition.com/dangerous_game.pdf accessed 21 June 2018.

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