Sanger Rainsford is a celebrated hunter from New York City with a passion for hunting big game and a “predator versus prey” worldview. He is traveling on a yacht with his friend Whitney to hunt jaguars in the Amazon, when he falls overboard into the sea just off the coast of Ship-Trap Island. After he swims ashore, he comes across General Zaroff’s enormous mansion on the island and soon learns that he has entered the trap of a sadistic serial killer. Although both men enjoy hunting animals, Rainsford draws a hard line at hunting humans. Given the choice between being Zaroff’s latest prey or Ivan’s torture victim, Rainsford takes to the jungle and attempts to outwit Zaroff for the three-day contest. While running from Zaroff, Rainsford realizes how hunted animals must feel and experiences true terror for the first time in his life—though, instead of inspiring thoughts about the sanctity of all life, his terror motivates him to respond with violence. Although he resisted the game at first, when forced to fight for his survival, Rainsford eventually kills both Ivan and Zaroff, winning “the most dangerous game” and crossing the ethical line he drew at the beginning of the story. Rainsford’s transformation from proud hunter to terrified prey and then to cold-blooded murderer reveals that mankind is not so different from animals, and without the social contracts of a community, men will resort to brutal violence.
Sanger Rainsford Character Timeline in The Most Dangerous Game
The timeline below shows where the character Sanger Rainsford appears in The Most Dangerous Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Most Dangerous Game
While eating dinner that evening, Zaroff feels annoyed about having to replace Ivan and that Rainsford didn’t stick around to fight or be killed. He enjoys the material comforts of his... (full context)