This is written shortly after World
War I which internationally exposed
people to the brutalities and
inhuman nature of war.
The wealthy class often hunted
animal for sport.
Theodore Roosevelt had
popularized the idea of “big game”
hunting for sport.
Before you read- Agree or
___ Hunting is a sport or game.
___ Animals have no feelings and are
___ Hunting should only be done for
___ Hunting is not fair.
___ Strength is more important than
Review of Pertinent Literary
Setting- the where + the when + the
Characterization- a description of the
qualities or peculiarities or significant
details of a character creating their
Conflict-the tension between what the
main character or protagonist wants
and what is in his or her way.
Theme-a recurring idea throughout a
Setting in The most Dangerous
Basic Time and Place= Caribbean sea during the
early 20th century
Setting 1- A ship at sea A dark moonless warm
night. (begins in security or tranquility) The ship
represents safety on a treacherous sea and the
narrator falls off the ship in to danger.
Setting 2- The Island (Ship-Trap Island) is
isolated and ambiguous setting up a particular
series of events. The island is natural yet
unforgiving and hostile.
Rainsford- protagonist (hero) who falls off the ship
and becomes the central prey in the game who is
intelligent experienced and witty.
Zaroff- Antagonist (villain) The Hunter in the
game. The big game hunter more mysterious
savage and is driven by the thrill of the hunt.
Whitney --Rainsford’s friend and traveling
companion. On the yacht, he suggests to Rainsford
that hunted animals feel fear.
Ivan- Zaroff’s assistant
The obvious and direct external conflict is
Rainsford’s need to survive and he must
overcome Zaroff as prey in a hunt to accomplish
The story also serves as an allegory exploring the
nature of man. The discussion or dialogue
between the two men initiates a more
philosophical conflict regarding the purpose of
hunting and arrogance of man. Zaroff views
hunting as a game to project his superiority and
only values hunts that are a challenge, while
Rainsford hunts for the purpose of survival.
Zaroff views the possibility of outwitting Rainsford
as his greatest challenge.
Reason vs. Instinct- The nature of man being
able to reason is more often superior to the
instinct to survive, but that is blurred in the story.
The Effects of War- Zaroff has responded to war
with a never ending thirst for power over other’s
lives. This fuels his hatred of others and inflated
ego. Rainsford only recalls the desperation of war
and his instinct is to avoid these types of difficult
Symbols and Figurative
Look in the text for references to the natural
darkness outside and the inner darkness of human
cruelty and evil
Castle on the Cliff- Castle represents power
and the cliff represents sudden difficult
Animal or human traits of the sea
Animal lust of the land
“licked its greedy lips”
“unbroken front of snarled and ragged jungle”
Key Questions for Consideration
Discuss the various ways that light is used on the
story to set a mood. How does this contribute to
the development of the story?
How do the settings of the ship and an island
contribute to the story?
Describe at least two ways the title “The Most
Dangerous Game” could be read and how each
way contributes to the story.