The Most Dangerous Game

by: Richard Connell

Important Quotations Explained

1. “Instinct is no match for reason.”

General Zaroff’s smug formulation in his initial conversation with Rainsford over dinner summarizes the common assumption that instinct and reason are mutually exclusive. Connell explores this misperception by contrasting culture and society with the bestial, savage, and survivalist impulses all animals have. Although General Zaroff believes that logic and cool thinking always allow him to triumph over terrified prey, his physical injuries sustained from springing Rainsford’s traps highlight the flaws in his reasoning and suggest that he’s much more vulnerable than he’d like to believe. In the end, Rainsford survives the hunt only after fear forces him to jump off the cliff into the ocean, a rasher decision than he would ordinarily make. The animal and human elements work in tandem to ensure his survival.