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William Chen 

Mr. King  

English I 

5 May 2019  

Zaroff had Narcissist Personality Disorder 

“Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others” (Ni). This quotes best 

defines narcissism as it is a disorder that involve an exaggerated sense of superiority or, “A 

disturbed representation of self and others” that results in exploiting other, lack of empathy for 

others, and putting down others (Dimaggio). These actions corresponds with feelings of 

arrogance, self admiration, selfishness, manipulativeness and a desperate want for attention 

(Nordqvist). Zaroff from ​The Most Dangerous Game​ shows traits of narcissism through his way 

of expressing his “superiority” by murdering others, showing lack of empathy, and his overly 

desire to express himself.  

Zaroff has the common traits of a narcissist, an overly need for admiration and lack of 

empathy. With the descriptions of the wall “About the hall were mounted heads of many 

animals--lions, tigers, elephants, moose, bears; larger or more perfect specimens Rainsford had 

never seen” (Connell). Telling that he wants another people and himself to think of hims as great 

since he has all these animal trophies. This type of thinking has lead to him down playing others 

as he thinks of himself as the best. Although there are many cases of lack of empathy that Zaroff 

shows, such as killing others, I would like to highlight his treatment of Ivan. After Ivan’s death 

Zaroff doesn’t feel any emotion impact instead he just thinks, based on the narrator, “One was 
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the thought that it would be difficult to replace Ivan”(Connell). Showing that he’s only frustrated 

by the idea of finding someone new and not the loss of a comrade. 

Throughout the story Zaroff show his sense of self-importance through murder and 

putting others below him for others. He expresses putting others way below him and murdering 

others through the quote,“I hunt the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships--lassars, blacks, 

Chinese, whites, mongrels--a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them” 

(Connell). Through this quote it shows his justification for killing others by saying they are 

below horses or hounds. And his reason for doing so is said by this quote "Life is for the strong, 

to be lived by the strong, and, if needs be, taken by the strong. The weak of the world were put 

here to give the strong pleasure. I am strong. Why should I not use my gift?” (Connell). Showing 

that he thinks of himself as a higher being that should kill the weak. This shows how dangerous a 

narcissist person could be with the quote, “Many narcissist and gaslighter enjoy getting away 

with violating rules and social norms” (Ni). Zaroff shows the extreme end of this quote by killing 


Despite the evidence claiming that Zaroff is a narcissist, many people believe that Zaroff 

showing respect for Rainsford down plays the idea of him being a narcissist, they fail to see that 

he is only respecting Rainsford to get Rainsford to participate in the game, because Zaroff views 

him as a fun hunt. Those who believe Zaroff is a respectable man think he gave Rainsford the 

comforts because he was a nice person. Although aspects of this argument are enticing it 
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ultimately fails to be a stronger argument because of the quote “Well, I suppose that's only 

natural, after your long swim. You need a good, restful night's sleep. Tomorrow you'll feel like a 

new man, I'll wager. Then we'll hunt, eh?” (Connell). showing that he is only giving him a good 

bed so he can be a better prey for the predator.  

Over Rainsford has narcissism because of his lack of empathy for others, his extreme 

sense of self-importance, and how he is manutive in using others for his own gain. Through his 

extreme self importance he feels the tendency to kill and use others for his own pleasure. This is 

a scary trait to be abuse by in reality, you could easily be manipulated and abused by others, it is 

important to not become a sheep to a wolf.   

Nordqvist, Christian. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Traits, Diagnosis, and Treatment.”  

Medical News Today​, MediLexicon International, 2 Jan. 2018,​. 

NI, Preston. “6 Common Traits of Narcissists and Gaslighting.” ​Psychology Today,​ Sussex  

Publishers, 30 July 2017,

-and-gaslighters​. 5/21/19 

Dimaggio, Giancarlo. "Narcissistic personality disorder: rethinking what we know." ​Psychiatric  

Times​, July 2012, p. 17. ​Academic OneFile​,  

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Accessed 22 May 2019. 

Connell, Richard. "The Most Dangerous Game." ​Fiction: The Eserver Collection.  

1994-2010. Web. 5 Sept. 2010.