The Princess Bride is probably best described as a medieval adventure tale. This means that the reader is more infatuated with the character’s actions than the characters themselves. Because the characters come from such an old time period, and do such insane things, it can be difficult to relate to them. However, even if you can’t relate to the characters, the things they do are so interesting that the book itself is still enjoyable.
So far, the characters in the book have very distinct personalities; some of whom I like and some of whom I don’t. My favorite character so far is Buttercup. She is strong-willed and independent which makes her an excellent main character. Although Buttercup is my favorite, I like most of the other characters as well. Inigo is a determined individual who tries as hard as he can to get justice for his father’s killer. Fezzik is physically intimidating, but mentally is a timid person. He doesn’t like fighting, but he knows that he has to fight in order to make a living. So far, I am indifferent towards the man in black. He hasn’t really been characterized much. At this point, he has not been in the story for as long as the other characters, so I am trying to remain neutral in my views of him until I have enough information to form an opinion. At this point in the story, his greatest accomplishments are climbing the “Cliffs of Insanity” and defeating Inigo in a duel. He doesn’t kill Inigo, but instead knocks him out with the butt of his sword. His accomplishments show us he is very talented, but we don’t really know if he will use that talent for good or for evil. He doesn’t kill Inigo even though he had the chance, which causes me to lean more toward the idea that he is a good person.
The only character that I do not like is Vizzini. He seems arrogant and selfish. When the man in black begins following him, he claims that that would be “Inconceivable!” He believes that his team is the very best, and that no one can possibly defeat them. Also, he is trying to kill Buttercup. Considering that Buttercup is my favorite character, it seems reasonable that I wouldn’t like the character who is trying to kill her. He is the leader of his team, but doesn’t really trust them to do much. He thinks that out of everyone on his team he is the best and therefore everyone must do as he says.
So far in the story, the characters have had to make some important decisions about the other characters. Although the decision is not made in the book, the reader knows that Vizzini is choosing to kill Buttercup for someone else. This shows the reader that he doesn’t have very strong morals and that he is willing to do anything to show how smart he is. Inigo must decide whether or not he will kill the man in black. His orders are to kill, but his morals tell him not to. He treats the duel as just another sword fight, until he realizes that the man in black is an adequate opponent. When he realizes this, he does everything he can to win the duel, but it still seems like a friendly duel, not a fight with intent to kill. I don’t agree with Vizzini’s decision to kill Buttercup because it is common knowledge that murder is bad. As for Inigo’s decision, I think there probably was a better way he could have dealt with the situation, but the sort of ended up working in his favor because he didn’t have to kill anyone.
The setting of the story is very important. Perhaps the most significant setting so far is entitled “The Cliffs of Insanity.” These cliffs are described to be 1,000 feet high, and it is said that is nearly impossible to climb them. It is on these cliffs where the reader first sees the man in black’s talent. When he finally reaches the top of the cliffs, the man in black is tested again by his surroundings. When he duels against Inigo, he must figure out how to use the surrounding terrain to his advantage. However, Inigo is trying to do the same things, so both characters must try to outsmart the other in terms of the way they use their terrain.
The time period of this story is also a very crucial part of the plot. Nowadays, there aren’t very many princesses, nor are there very many duels. Princess Buttercup’s struggles throughout the novel are often due to the fact that she is a princess. Inigo is in a similar situation. His father was famous for crafting swords, a profession which is not really common in today’s world. After his father is killed, Inigo pledges to devote his life to fencing. He says he will one day find the man who killed his father, and kill him. Neither of these situations would really make sense in the context of today’s world, so the time period of the story must play an important role in its events.
The author adds in some of his own commentary throughout the story which allows us to see some of his own perspective. He definitely views the story more lightheartedly than the characters do. Of course, since he is not the one faced with the possibility of death this seems quite logical. Buttercup is created as a very emotional person. The loss of the love of her life affected her greatly; she didn’t eat or sleep for days. If this story was being told in first person, it might be more emotionally distressing for the reader. However, the story is told through the third person which allows the reader to see the difference between how seriously the author takes these events as compared to the character.