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Archetypes Rendered New

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Loving someone so much that you vow to never love again is not an easy thing. William Goldman’s story The Princess Bride is a story about the most beautiful girl in the world at the time, Buttercup, and the farm boy that she loves, Westley. Unfortunately, Prince Humperdink of Florin is able to convince Buttercup into a loveless marriage with him when she receives news that Westley has most likely been killed by pirates. Westley reappears in the form of a man in black to take back the woman he loves when the official announcement is made that Buttercup will marry the prince. As Westley observes Buttercup, she is kidnapped by three men who have been hired to kill her. Westley is finally able to rescue Buttercup but she makes the most heart-wrenching decision of her life and goes back to the Prince, but realizes too late that she made the wrong choice. Westley is able to rescue her again with the help of two of the men who were hired to kill her, and they begin their life together on the run from the kingdom of Florin. In The Princess Bride, William Goldman uses several archetypes such as Heaven vs Hell, star-crossed lovers, and death and rebirth to show how archetypes can be rendered new.
The traditional archetype Heaven vs Hell, is physically like the archetype Heaven vs Hell but the purpose of the domains are switched. “Buttercup shielded her eyes and put her head straight back, staring up into the darkness toward the top, which seemed shrouded and out of reach” (Goldman 111). The natural choice for safety would be heaven but after Goldman has adjusted the archetype of Heaven vs Hell, heaven is the most dangerous choice for Buttercup. If she continues on the pathway to the ‘heaven’ she will probably die by the hands of her kidna...

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...d is stronger, yet Westley is so weak that he is barely able to move his body. Goldman changed the archetype of Death and Rebirth by having Westley die but come back weaker.
Through the use of the archetypes Heaven vs Hell, star-crossed lovers, and death and rebirth, William Goldman gives examples on how to adjust archetypes to make them new. Archetypes are repeating patterns that occur in every story. To keep these patterns from getting old, writers constantly change and bring new meaning to the traditional archetypes. Spotting some archetypes may not be easy but as writers adjust the archetypes to the ages that we live in, we will be able to see the changes that happen to the writing of the writers of different ages.

Works Cited

Goldman, William. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure. Orlando: Harcourt, 2007. Print.
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