The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell Book Review
"The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell demonstrates the difference between self-defense and murder illustrated by characterization.
Connell uses Rainsford’s actions and characteristics to show the difference between an act of self- defense and cold-blooded murder. Throughout the entire story, the character of Rainsford is forced to participate in a game of jungle survival by a psychotic general named Zaroff who likes to hunt people for fun. He decides Rainsford, an experienced hunter himself, would be the perfect next candidate for his little game. With his strong expertise of hunting, Rainsford builds many elaborate traps to take out his opponents and survive the jungle game. One of the traps Rainsford creates takes the life of Zaroff’s partner. This act of violence is not something Rainsford would normally do in the regular world. As he tells the General earlier in the story "Thank you, I'm a hunter, not a murderer." This was right after (Connell) Zaroff is done telling him about his game of survival. This quote is demonstrating how Rainsford would never kill anyone without it being a survival situation because of his good nature and value of human life. It would be very out of character for him to kill a person for pleasure. He built the traps to kill his opponents in order to survive. At the end of the story, a shocking surprise reveals that Rainsford has actually survived all of Zaroff's methods to hunt him. Zaroff is stunned to see him and tells Rainsford he must face him in a fencing match in order to finish the game. If Rainsford wins he lives, but if he loses he will be fed to the dogs. At the end of the battle, Zaroff tells Rainsford “One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. (Connell). This quote demonstrates how once again Rainsford is put in a corner by his opponent forcing him to play self-defense because of his need to survive a fencing match with the psychopathic general. Thus, Connell is using Rainsford as an example to show the contrast between the felony of homicide and protecting yourself from an attacker with the example situation of either being corned and fed to dogs or fighting off an attacker to save your life. That is how Richard Connell used the literary device of characterization to show the difference between murder and self-defense.