General Zaroff is an extremely wealthy Russian aristocrat who inhabits Ship-Trap Island with his servant, Ivan, and hunts other men, who are, in his words, “the most dangerous game” because of their capacity for reasoning. Zaroff represents the wealthy elite and lives in a mansion with the finest furnishings, dining, and apparel, but the reader quickly learns that his showy exterior barely hides his predatory nature. When Rainsford stumbles up to his front door, he and Zaroff bond over their love of hunting until Zaroff reveals his passion for hunting humans. He justifies his actions by touting social Darwinist rhetoric that he, a superior man, is entitled to take the lives of the weak. After Rainsford rejects his offer to hunt together, he makes Rainsford his latest prey. Using hunting dogs, the finest equipment, and his extensive knowledge of his own island, Zaroff thinks he has created an unlosable game for himself, only to be defeated when Rainsford outsmarts and kills him in his own house. His reliance on his abundant resources and weakened prey reveal Zaroff, for all of his talk of hunting prowess, to be cowardly. He never enters a fair fight, but uses his dominance over socially, materially, and physically disadvantaged men to affirm his own superiority.
General Zaroff Character Timeline in The Most Dangerous Game
The timeline below shows where the character General Zaroff appears in The Most Dangerous Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Most Dangerous Game