The Princess Bride Essay
The book The Princess Bride by William Goldman, is a very classic and unique fantasy of history and never-ending love. Goldman creates characters within this book that not only have a great sense of humor and realism through the imagery he uses, but they also overcome various life long battles and are given somewhat of supernatural powers in many instances in the story. One major point that will not go overlooked in this book is that Goldman always places love above everything else, and allows his characters to do almost anything whether it’s impossible or improbable for true love and honor.
Goldman uses many literary techniques that intensify and liven up the writing many including satire, diction, underlying symbols, stunning imagery, but most of all he uses the most creative and astonishing character analysis. Goldman uses these unique characteristics in each of the characters to better illustrate the story, thus making it more impressive, heroic and epic with a bit of a satire twist within the book. In addition, these superior qualities make the characters’ flaws and mistakes even more charming and funny, with seeing them in contrast with such prominence and magnitude.
For example Goldman gives Humperdinck, the skills of a great huntsman; Inigo, the grace and speed of sword fighting; Fezzik, who happens to be a giant, is given everlasting strength of course; Vizzini, was given the wits; Buttercup, who is known for her beauty and splendor and Westley, who was a poor farm boy is now notorious for surviving and saving his true love. Obviously, Westley is the overall “hero” in this story because he comes face to face with danger and death multiple times, and yet he overcomes each one by one, whether it’s heading into the fire swamp, “It’s not that bad.
I’m not saying I’d like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely” (119), or being tortured down in Humperdinck’s death zoo, Westley will always come out on top. Westley is motivated throughout the entire book by his true love for his beloved Buttercup, “I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body” (12), even though its obvious Goldman wanted to show us that Westley is madly in love with Buttercup, as well as humoring his reading audience.
Goldman begins to add a little extra satire into the character Westley to poke fun of the normal everyday, perfectly crafted hero, which doesn’t just tell us about Westley as a person, but better yet shows us by revealing his funny and vulnerable emotions and thoughts. Goldman builds Westley up to be the perfect man by proving he can duel better than Inigo, he can wrestle better than the giant Fezzik, “You mean, you’ll put down your rock and I’ll put down my sword and we’ll try and kill each other like civilized people? (23), and is able to outsmart Vizzini in the battle of wits, “You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!
The most famous is never to get involved in a land war in Asia. And only slightly less well known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line! “(36) Westley is even faced with the impossible and is able to live through Count Rugen’s death torture machine, Goldman gives Westley an almost godly description, and he is the perfect and flawless man, just as Buttercup is the ideal and ultimate beauty.
By choosing to create terrible obstacles and dreadful endeavors, Goldman produces an emotion of intensity, passion and concentration on the chapter at hand, which makes for an escalating yet riveting reading experience. Buttercup is one of the other main characters known for her beauty not much of anything else, hence some more satire from Goldman. Buttercup looses her true love Westley and is forced to marry the terrible prince Humperdinck, where she is than faced with the hardest and ultimate decision of life or death, which Humperdinck could not stand, “Would you consider me as an alternative to suicide? (45), although he is planning on killing her himself after the marriage. Buttercup is described as brave, bold, honest and hopelessly in love with Westley, according to Goldman love must always conquer all even the impossible, therefore the audience is always engaged on the problem or situation on hand, no matter what character it is.
Goldman’s creation of Inigo Montoya in the book was pure genius, not only did he have the amazing sword skills but he also provides the very catchy quote, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya; you killed my father; prepare to die. (69) This often repeated phrase that Inigo recites non-stop is for his ultimate encounter with Count Rugen, the six fingered man, “I do not mean to pry, but you don’t by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand? Do you always start your conversations this way? ” (28) Goldman includes this quote in the opening chapter when Inigo and Westley first meet to clearly show Inigo’s motivation and determination of finding the man who killed his father, which is why he spent his entire life studying sword play and techniques, this also sets the reader up for foreshadowing, such as; when will Inigo and this man meet in the book?
Or why does the man have six fingers? This is one of the many great techiques Goldman uses through the character analysis, by building up the readers expense and curiosity, there will be more predicting and thinking going on within the mind of the reader, making for a more complete and interesting story. Although Goldman was not satisfied with Inigo’s mastery skills of the sword so he added in the fact that Inigo still hasn’t located the six fingered man, so in turn Inigo falls into a horrible habit of alcoholism and at times deep depression.
Inigo is a very faithful, trustworthy and loyal friend to anyone he comes across, as in the beginning when Westley and Inigo first meet, “You seem a decent fellow, I’d hate to kill you. You seem a decent fellow, I’d hate to die” (34), the sarcastic yet strong quote between the two stimulates both intrigue and humor within the reader, Goldman decides to write with such absurdity and ridiculousness because it provokes many more emotions that way such as; hilarity, intensity, curiosity and bewilderment.
Goldman uses the character Inigo for those main reasons, both Fezzik and Inigo add that little extra satire and comedy to the overall piece, the reader has no choice but to fall in love with them both in the story. Fezzik the giant is a big, loyal, loving, peaceful and forgetful character, Goldman constructs Fezzik mainly because of his humorous rhymes and happy go lucky attitude, to enhance the satire. Fezzik makes up various rhymes to remember what Vizzini tells him, these rhymes finish off the storyline just because of the randomness and silliness of them all, “No more rhymes I mean it, anybody want a peanut? (23).
Last but not least the villain of the story, Prince Humperdinck, who is nothing but bad-tempered and difficult. Goldman doesn’t just design a villain but a prissy, powerful villain at that of course, since nothing is ever on typical guidelines for Goldman. Prince Humperdinck is supposedly the unsurpassed hunter of Florin, although he never puts it to any use except for in his zoo of death and the tracking of Buttercup.
Humperdinck wants nothing more than to assemble a war just for the simple amusement for him and by doing so he plans on killing his “wife” Buttercup. Humperdinck is the ultimate jerk, trying to stop true love for his own pleasure; nevertheless he talks the talk, but never walks the walk. Humperdinck is too scared to actually challenge the brave Westley himself out of fear of loosing, so he decides to try to kill Westley through the torture device the Count, six fingered man, had built.
Towards the end of the book Humperdinck is tied to a chair by Buttercup thanks to the help of Westley’s droning on bluff speech about how he was going to pull apart Humperdinck bit by bit. Without the villain of Humperdinck the story would never had been the same, though he’s nothing but a two-faced, liar, he is the character that brings us to the rising climax of Westley’s death torture, the most “inconceivable” and exciting part of the story.
William Goldman is so unique in everything he does, diction, sentence structure, underlying symbols and much more, but when it comes down to the character analysis, nothing can even come close. The personality and emotion within each line and quote of a character doesn’t just tell about the specific character, rather Goldman shows us through each and every descriptive and in depth detail, sequentially formulating the faultless, immaculate and unforgettable story, The Princess Bride.