Can having everything you desire transform you into a nihilistic person? In the short story The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, Sanger Rainsford is traveling to new hunting grounds on a yacht when he falls overboard. Rainsford then swims to Ship-Trap Island to find himself being held prisoner and the prey of General Zaroff’s malicious game. Passion, arrogance, and nihilistic views have overpowered Zaroff’s mentality into believing that hunting anyone and anything is acceptable.
General Zaroff is introduced to the reader as a very sophisticated person that has a passion for hunting. He was very generous and welcoming towards Rainsford. However, the General knew his own immoral intentions. For example, during General Zaroff’s conversation with Rainsford he declares, “I killed my first bear in the Caucasus when I was ten. My whole life has been one prolonged hunt.” (pg.6) This quote conveys that the General’s rejoice in hunting grew since he was a young boy, and he has been passionate for hunting ever since. General Zaroff constantly portrays his impulse for quarry throughout the story to demonstrate that Zaroff is willing to do anything to satisfy his inner bloodlust. In addition, General Zaroff states ” I hunt the scum of the earth- sailors from tramp ships, lascars, blacks, chinese, and mongrels.”(pg.8) This reveals that Zaroff perceives murder as amusement and has no compunction for killing humans of any race or ethnicity. General refers to humans along the lines of animals that he pursues, therefore taking lives of human beings does not disturb him, yet it brings him satisfaction.
General Zaroff shows throughout the story that he is exceedingly arrogant, whether it is through his actions or words. For instance, during the conversation between him and Rainsford, the General declares “I have hunted every kind of game in every land. It would be impossible for me to tell you how many animals I have killed.”(pg.######) When analyzing this quote you can perceive that General Zaroff is a cosmopolite that has traveled all over the world and has hunted every type of animal, although he comes across as egotistically absorbed. After much discussion Zaroff later states “Life is for the strong, to be lived by the strong, and if need be, taken by the strong”(pg.8) This quote portrays that General Zaroff distinguishes himself as being superior than most people. Zaroff considerably sees the lower society as insignificant and useless.