The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell, explores the emotion of fear, by using two philosophies. The first, that there are only two groups of people in the world: the hunters and the hunted and the second being survival of the fittest.
The underlying content of “The Most Dangerous Game” relies on a sense of fear and a human’s reaction to a perilous situation. Fear can be defined as “response to physical and emotional danger” (Psychology Today). This instinctual reaction allows humans to protect themselves when in dangerous situations (Psychology Today).
There are several instances of fear discussed in the short story. The first instance deals with the fear that prey feels. A member ...view middle of the document...
” In “The Most Dangerous Game,” General Zaroff believes that he will survive. He carries a boastful persona about him; believing that since he, “to date [had] not lost” (Connell). Once Zaroff finally loses, he gets confronted with the idea that he no longer remains the most fit on the island.
A major flaw in his reasoning becomes exposed here. Before Zaroff lost, he tried to strike a deal with Rainsford; that if somehow Rainsford won, he would get him transportation off of the island. The idea that he would be killed by Rainsford never crossed his mind. Zaroff left his death out of the equation. His belief, which I have inferred from the story, is that if he did not kill his prey (which he believed stood a very unlikely chance of survival), his prey would be perfectly okay with being hunted, and things would return to normal afterwards. Before each hunt, I believe that his thought process followed the lines of: I am the hunter; I can kill my prey; I am the strongest and fittest. He appears to believe that if he is not the strongest, then the strongest will not kill him – in the same way that he kills the weakest. This is shown at the end. Zaroff appears to attempt at reasoning with Rainsford – congratulating him on his win. This logic stands as one sided, technically unfair, and prideful. Through this belief, Zaroff would escape the fear of being the hunted.
There are several ways that this short story relates to American culture and society today.
First, Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest are taught to high school freshmen across the nation in biology class. Therefore, this...