Richard Connell’s “The most dangerous game Essay” is a very
exciting story of a manhunt. This story made me think about the morality of
hunting: Humans are the cleverest creatures on earth, but does it
give them a license to kill the other animals and even human beings weaker
than themselves? I give below a short summary of the story to set
the scene and then I will explore the ethics involved in hunting as a
“The Most Dangerous Game” presents the story of a hunter, General
Zaroff, who finds hunting human beings as the most dangerous and
fascinating sport. He likes hunting humans because human beings,
unlike the other animals, can reason better and so provide a richer thrill
for the hunter. He does not think hunting human beings is an immoral act
because he believes in the theory of might is right and that the
strong have the right to kill the weak.
However in the story General Zaroff
fails to hunt down Rainsford, who had the ill fortune to accidentally
slip overboard a yacht and swim to the shore, seek shelter in the
General’s chateau in the midst of a jungle, and become General
Zaroff’s quarry for three days. Nevertheless, Rainsford, who believes it is
immoral to hunt human beings, was clever and desperate–he gave
General Zaroff the slip in the manhunt and killed the General. So
The hunter who craved to pit his wits against the victim’s wits for the
Sake of excitement met his end. In my opinion Rainsford, who was also a
great hunter, learnt the valuable lesson that it is cruel and immoral
to hunt innocent animals for the sake of mere excitement and that
hunting is not the best, as he formerly believed, but the worst sport in the
world. He knew full well what it meant to feel the fear of pain and
the fear of death.
General Zaroff believed in the law of the jungle, that is,
Might is right.
So he felt there was nothing wrong in killing animals and
even low-bred or weak human beings for excitement. According to him,
the earth belonged to the strong and only they are fit to survive.
To be weak is to forfeit the right to exist.
However, this theory can be challenged in several ways. First
And foremost, what is strength? It does not necessarily mean physical
strength. A strong creature like the elephant is tamed and
domesticated by a human who is relatively a weaker creature.
If to be strong is
to be clever, then a fox may be stronger than a lion. If strength lies
in wisdom, an ant probably is no less wise than even a human being. So
it is very difficult to say who are the fit and who have the right to
survive. Furthermore, there is no reason whatsoever to claim the
right of the strong to kill the weak. The weak have the right to live and
many weak creatures thrive splendidly.
Darwin’s theory of evolution teaches us that in the struggle
For existence only the fit survive.
But it does not tell us that the
Weak are unfit. As a matter of fact, many strong creatures like mammoths
and dinosaurs failed in the struggle for existence and became extinct,
while puny and weak creatures like the cockroach or the common fly are
living and flourishing. This proves that it is not physical strength that
guarantees fitness and the license to live. Survival is a more
complicated affair than mere strength.
If we look at the history of evolution we see that human
Beings have been very successful in the struggle for existence. One of the
reasons for this may be that man does not live by bread alone and
that the human society has developed a set of civilizing virtues like
charity, kindness, and morality.
We have been taught that it is
immoral to destroy life. We have no right to destroy what we cannot create,
and other animals are our fellow creatures. Our knowledge of
ecology also teaches us that by killing animals we may be tampering
with the delicate ecosystem and inviting our own destruction.
Human beings are probably the most intelligent creatures on
earth. That is why they have a great responsibility of keeping intact
the life of the earth. Indiscriminate killing for sport is an
uncivilized and anti-intellectual .