What does ‘civilized’ mean? What qualities would a civilized person possess? If you were to ask a group of people what they believed civilized meant, you would get varying opinions. There is debate as to whether or not the two main characters from “The Most Dangerous Game” are civilized or not. General Zaroff and Sanger Rainsford both have civilized and uncivilized qualities. I’m going to present the reasoning behind my choices.
When General Zaroff is first introduced in the story, it appears that he is a civilized person. It is not until you read farther into the story that you begin to see why he is quite the opposite. While having dinner with Rainsford, General Zaroff explains to him that, while he used to hunt big game animals, it had begun to bore him. None of the game provided a challenge to Zaroff anymore. He came up with another way to get the thrill of hunting, while finding something that would keep it interesting and challenging. Zaroff decided to hunt humans.
General Zaroff uses lights to attract ships to his island, where they would crash into the rocks. Zaroff would let those who were stranded in the crash into his home and give them food, clothes, and shelter. Later, they would be taken to his basement, where they would train for the hunt. He does give the refugees the right to refuse to participate in the hunt, which is one reason that he believes it is humane. However, if they choose not to participate, Ivan, Zaroff’s servant, tortures them. Rather than face the torture, most attempt the hunt in the hope they could survive. After Zaroff kills someone on the hunt, he keeps their head in his library as a trophy. Killing people gives Zaroff pleasure, and Ivan’s torture doesn’t bother him, either. In his mind, the weak were put on Earth to give pleasure to the strong. This all shows that General Zaroff is very uncivilized.
While reading the story, you first meet Sanger Rainsford on a yacht. Already we are given the impression that he is civilized. Whether the yacht was Rainsford’s or not, most people don’t get a chance to be on them at all. Rainsford has a friend, Whitney, who he hunts with. He is nice to Whitney, which also makes him appear civilized. Like Zaroff once was, Rainsford is a big-game hunter, and he wrote a book about his hunting experiences. Rainsford’s publishing of his book is another indication that he is a civilized...