26 February 2013
“Value of Life”
Everyone has heard of chess and hopefully is aware of how to play the game. Well, how about human chess, where there is a hunter and prey but they are both human? The Most Dangerous Game is a suitable title since that is exactly what took place in the remote island owned by General Zaroff, the antagonist, written by Richard Connell. Connell illustrated numerous unthinkable and impractical events in this story to express the inner importance in life; articulates a serious piece of literature. Rainsford, the protagonist of the story, began his journey no different than any other, on a mission to the Amazon in pursuit of hunting jaguars. Rainsford had great love for hunting as a sport and never thought twice about the animals he gamed. Once Rainsford became the prey, it taught him that no one can excuse the killing of another life; it was simply murder. The biological drive of fear shadowed the island with darkness of the unknown. Due to all the devastation brought on from wars, the principles of both men changed. Unfortunately, [->0]General Zaroff believed he was higher in status, almost like the king of the island. Rainsford’s moral ethics are put to the test as General Zaroff plays his game. Rainsford had no consideration for animal life, obviously his knack for hunting made him blind. Rainsford recalled his conversation on the boat between him and his good friend, Whitney. “Don't talk rot, Whitney,” said Rainsford. "You're a big hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels?" (Connell 1 of 14) This line suggests that Rainsford does not take into account that animals’ lives are less valuable than human life. The thought that animals were not intelligent and could not reason made Rainsford put humans on a superior level. Rainsford disregarded Whitney’s absurdity and suggested that he was merciful in favor of animal life, shown in this line. "Even so, I rather think they understand one thing--fear. The fear of pain and the fear of death.” Rainsford slaughtered animals in his sport of hunting; he was the hunter that never thought twice about the creature’s feelings. However, like animal characters, the feeling of fear came upon Whitney. “The place has a reputation--a bad one.” (Connell 2 of 14) Ship-Trap Island even had Captain Nielson and his crew shaken up when the ship passed it. The fact that the captain was well known for his strength and fearlessness tough standing clearly showed that no matter what, fear can affect anyone or anything. "This place has an evil name among seafaring men, sir. ‘Then he said to me, very gravely, 'Don't you feel anything?'--as if the air about us was actually poisonous. Now, you mustn't laugh when I tell you this-- I did feel something like a sudden chill. (Connell 2 of 14) Naturally, fear is just a secondary emotion perceived by any form of danger towards anyone or anything. The island’s darkness made it a powerful element to the unknown, it was a hazard to the prey that arrived on it.
Zaroff’s action showed that he had no regard for human life that had the misfortune of landing on his island. "I wanted the ideal animal to hunt," explained the general. "So I said, 'What are the attributes of an ideal quarry?' And the answer was, of course, 'It must have courage, cumming, and, above all, it must be able to reason." (Connell 7 of 14) The human chess game, like war, became so real for Rainsford when General Zaroff gave him no choice. Rainsford believed that killing another human for the sport of fun was basically murder, but it truly challenged his aspect for gaming animals. It put him in a spot as he allowed his emotions to overlook the reality of the game as the hunter. The sophisticated general was a hunter with a mindset similar to a Nazi’s. Rainsford believed he had a right to rule. The war taught Rainsford survival tactics which helped him in many ways during “the game”. Zaroff's