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The Princess Bride

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In the classic novel, ‘The Princess Bride’, three significant aspects of the hero’s journey are the Call to Adventure, the Road of Trials and the Final Ordeal. All these aspects portray a continuous theme of love which shows that when you find your one true love you discover that you will go any distance and overcome any obstacle in order to be with that person.

The first major aspect which shows the theme of love is ‘The Call to Adventure’. In this regard, Westley leaves his familiar, ordinary world to seek a more lucrative life. He does this purely out of love for Buttercup and to make sure that he can provide for her as his wife. Early in the novel, Westley declares to Buttercup: ““I’m going to America. To seek my fortune. A ship sails soon from London, and there is great opportunity in America.”” [pg. 22] His declaratory tone emphasises the importance of what he is saying, and is evidence of his determination to embark on this important adventure and that nothing could change his mind. Westley goes on to state that he has worked very hard to come to this point: “I’ve been training myself in my hovel. I’ve taught myself not to need sleep. A few hours only. I’ll take a ten hour a day job and then another, and I’ll save every penny from both except what I need to eat to keep strong, and when I have enough I’ll buy a farm and build a house and a bed big enough for two” [pg. 55-56] This quote demonstrates that Westley has been planning this trip for quite some time, and that he feels that he is now ready to face the challenge. He wants to marry Buttercup, but only if he can provide for her as a husband. While this is the first representation of his love, many more ensue through the book. For example, when Buttercup, still unclear of his feelings for her, asks if he does truly love her, and he responds indignantly: “Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches.” [p. 56] Through this imagery the reader understands the intensity of Westley’s love for Buttercup and senses that he is willing to endure any sacrifice for the sake of this love.

The second major aspect which demonstrates the theme of love is ‘The Road of Trials’. Here, Westley is confronted with multiple, virtually impossible tasks that he must overcome. He finds the strength to overcome these obstacles by the mere thought that his soulmate Buttercup may be in grave danger. thereby showing the author’s message that love conquers all. Wesley’s first trial occurs when the author states that he “almost met his match with a great swordsman. But in a multitude of tiny ways, he was of a slightly higher quality. A hair quicker, a fraction stronger, a speck faster. And although it all did not come without great effort, the man in black, eventually blocked Inigo, shackled Inigo, baffled, thwarted, muzzled and beat Inigo.” In this trial Westley (the man in black) reveals new skills to the reader, ones that he has obviously developed on his adventure to America. By listing the many ways in which Westley overcame Inigo, the author highlights how hard this hero must have worked to develop such skills. When Inigo congratulates Westley on his excellent swordsmanship, Westley responds: “I have worked all these years to become so, all in hopes to be with another.” Once again, the author conveys how far the hero has gone in the name of love. In the second trial , Westley engages in a fist fight with “ . . Fezzik, the strongest man on earth, towering above him.” Jumping, ducking, and rolling, and barely avoiding the strong man’s punches,” Westley continues to fight until Fezzik finally locks his arms around Westley’s neck. Fezzik squeezea and squeezed but surprisingly the man in black slipped free. “You’re very quick” Fezzik complimented. “Thank you,” the man in black replied “It did not come without much practice.” And in the few seconds Fezzik was off focus the man in black jumped on his back and grabbed him by the throat.” From this quote we can see than in the second test Westley is faced with the idea of violence and strength, as he must fight the strongest man on earth. As in his first test, we can also clearly see the repetition of different actions done by Westley, and can identify that we are again being introduced to new skills Westley picked up throughout his journey. WE can again conclude that he also worked extremely hard to develop the necessary talent as he says ‘ it did not come without effort’. We can now make the likely assumption that he worked to develop these skills for Buttercup as well as he did in the first trial. Now, in addition to this analysis, I found a connection in this certain trial to another trial completed by Buddha, the well-known religious hero, in his hero’s journey. For example, in Buddha’s heroic journey he goes through a similar second test as he is presented with the lord of death who fights him only out of hatred and pure violence, however Buddha merely seek peace, and returned the Lord of Death’s weapons with flowers, as a symbol of peace. Westley, on the other hand, is presented with Fezzik, the strongest man on earth who uses violence solely out of fear. However, because Westley only seeks love, he was able to defeat Fezzik without having to resort to killing him. He then moves on to his next and final trial, where he must battle “Vizzini the Sicilian, the wisest man on earth.” Westley challenges him to a battle of wits and brains in exchange for their kidnapped princess, Buttercup, to which Vizzini eagerly accepts. Westley pours the deadly iocane powder into one of the two goblets when Vizzini isn’t



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