A Comparison Between The Bet by Anton Chekov and The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

Last Updated: 16 Apr 2023
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Anton Chekov's "The Bet" and Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" are both exemplary works of literature. Completely different, yet quite alike, these short stories question the existing ideals and practices. The two stories make the reader question the justifications provided by our society for various practises. Written within a few decades of each other, these stories undoubtedly portray an influence of the late 19th- early 20th century on the main themes. The Bet and The Most Dangerous Game both use a 3rd person narration, the latter primarily making the use of dialogues.

The stories are also similar when it comes to the characters with two main characters in both. The Bet revolves around a gamble between a banker and a lawyer trying to ascertain which is better- a death penalty or life imprisonment. The Most Dangerous Game on the other hand, makes use of a protagonist, Sanger Rainford and the antagonist, General Zaroff, who themselves in the midst of a hunt. All the characters across the two stories are fairly straightforward in their opinions, with a black-and-white view towards different ideas. While the lawyer and the banker in Chekov's story are impulsive youth with not a single care, Connell's character's are mature men who consider themselves a superior species. As the stories unfold, we see a shift in the characters' views on the matters being discussed, namely the bet and the hunt. We see the protagonists questioning life as they knew it, with the lawyer questioning a materialistic existence which in tum was the basis on which the bet was made while Rainford saw the hunt from another perspective- as the hunted rather that as a hunter. The plots too, are quite simple. These simple plots merely serve as a backdrop to a more complex and philosophical idea that is being examined in the two stories.

The exposition in The Bet is just the argument at the party hosted by the banker wherein they discuss which of the two punishments is better. As the story progresses and the lawyer agrees to live in isolation for a period of 15 years in exchange for a sum of 2 million rubles from the banker, we see a shift in the lawyer's demeanour. This is the turning point in the story. For a while it seems as if the banker would win the bet as the lawyer appears to be miserable, but as the years pass by, the lawyer grows serious, a complete change from his youthful, impulsive attitude when the bet was made. He drowns himself in the study of languages and history and various other religious teachings. This is where the twist comes in. The banker who has lost all of his wealth plans to kill the lawyer as he does not have the promised sum of 2 million rubles.

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However, before he can do that, 5 hours before the 15 years of solitude are over, the lawyer escapes the makeshift prison and in a letter addressed to the banker, renounces all the material wealth. The story shifts from proving a point to raising an important philosophical question regarding man's materialistic lifestyle. The Most Dangerous Game is also similar when it comes to a shift in the plot. Sangar Rainford, a big-game hunter boasts of his skills and does not acknowledge the animals' feeling or emotions of fear. This changes when he falls off a yacht and swims in the direction from which he hears gun shots, hoping to find land. He ends up on Ship-Trap island which is deemed dangerous by Whitney, Rainford's companion. On the island he meets General Zaroff and his assistant, Ivan who treat him with expensive clothes and delicious meals. Zaroff appears to be a man of contradictions with highly refined manners but uncivilised morals. Zaroff took to hunting men, an intelligent species, being unsatisfied with the unchallenging hunt that animals provided.

Zaroff reveals his familiarity with Rainford's books on hunting and does not exempt even him from his absurd game in which he would hunt a man who would only win if he survived 3 days in the forest against Zaroff. Similar is the fate of Rainford. In the dense forests of the island, the hunt begins and Rainford uses all the tricks he has leamt to evade 7aroff; but 7aroff proves to be very intelligent. During the hunt, Rainford fears for his life just as the animals he hunted would have. Finally, Rainford takes to jumping into the sea to evade Zaroff and his ruthless hounds, and swims across the island to Zaroff's mansion, where he hides behind the curtains in Zaroff's room. He awaits Zaroff's arrival and kills him when he does. Rainford in shown to be pro hunting which soon changes as he experiences life as the hunted.

In my opinion, The Bet and The Most Dangerous Game are remarkable stories that put more emphasis on the underlying ideology that is being examined.

Than the actual plot: The Bet doing that more than the other. The stories are very different, yet considerably alike in the way they examine ethics and morals.

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A Comparison Between The Bet by Anton Chekov and The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. (2023, Apr 16). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-comparison-between-the-bet-by-anton-chekov-and-the-most-dangerous-game-by-richard-connell/

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