Essay on Character and Symbolic Analysis of The Princess Bride

Essay on Character and Symbolic Analysis of The Princess Bride

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Narrative Analyzed: The Princess Bride (film)

Provenance: The Princess Bride was written in 1973 by William Goldman and later adapted into a film in 1987.

Genre of the Narrative: The book is written as a satire in that it pokes fun at many themes and ideas in literature. The film follows suit with witty jokes and memorable quotes.

1. Principal Settings:

The story begins on a beautiful and secluded farm in the country of Florin where everything is peaceful. It is here that the Westley and Buttercup are introduced, and their affection for each other sets the mood of the story. The second is the castle of Florin where Humperdinck is introduced and is the source of the major conflict that arises during the story, as well as the final setting where the conflict is resolved. The third takes place on the Guilder Frontier. The Guilder frontier is the stretch of land separating Florin and Guilder (Florin’s sworn enemy). The frontier is divided into two sub-territories; the Countryside where Westley is put to the test to save Buttercup, and the Fire Swamp where Westley and Buttercup are tested by imminent danger. The final two locations are set in the country of Florin. They are the Pit of Despair, where Westley faces his death and the Thieves’ Forest where all hope seems to be lost.

2. Principal Action:

The principal action is Westley decision to leave the farm which causes a cascade of events to follow. On his journey he is captured by the “dread pirate Roberts who never leaves captives alive” and is therefore assumed to be dead for five years, in which time the Prince of Florin choses Buttercup as his bride to be. This engagement leads to the princess being abducted by what appear to be soldiers from Guilder in order t...


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...ns from the Pit of Despair, stands up to Humperdinck and prevents Buttercup from taking her own life.

9. What particular Myth or Kind of Myth Explains the Narrative?

The Princess Bride is a fairy tale in that there are some great morals to be obtained throughout. The book was originally written for Goldman’s daughters as a bed time story book, and through it he obviously threw in the morals in order to give them hope. These would include such ideas as love is powerful, and can overcome all transgressions, as well as the idea that there is justice in the world.

The Princess Bride resembles the story of Romeo and Juliet in that Buttercup and Westley are star crossed lovers that are destined to be together even against all odds. The side story of Inigo’s quest for revenge is reminiscent of the myth of Osiris’s, in which Seth kills Osiris as an act of revenge.

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