Fiction to Film: the Princess Bride

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William Goldman’s fairy tale The Princess Bride tells the love story of Buttercup, the most beautiful woman in the world and Westley, the handsome farm boy. Buttercup is the haughty daughter of a farmer who torments Westley until she finally realizes that she loves him. When Westley is supposedly killed by pirates, the broken-hearted Buttercup agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck. When Buttercup is kidnapped by prisoners hired to start a war, she and Westley reunite, only to be separated by Humperdinck. The self-same criminals who kidnapped Buttercup, brought him back from the “mostly dead” and helped him rescue his one true love. Published in 1973, it was adapted to film in 1987. Even though Goldman wrote the screenplay, the novel and film have many differences. However, the differences suit each version of the tale, leading to an incredibly successful novel and film, The Princess Bride cheekily plays with the archetypal characters typically found in fairy tales and fantasy. When the story begins, Buttercup, who becomes the most beautiful women in the world, is “barely in the top twenty, and that primarily on potential”(37). She only decides that she wants to be beautiful to ensure Westley’slove. To become beautiful, Buttercup undergoes changes that turn her into the stereotypical, idealized woman. She transforms from rude and unkempt to stunning, kind, gentle, and aware of the needs of others. She does, however have flaws, she is not very intelligent, and she sacrifices her love in favor of life twice; when Prince Humperdinck proposes, with the alternative being death, marriage, and when he threatens Buttercup’s and Westley’s lives again outside the Fire Swamp. In the film, Buttercup is played by Robin Wright, who fits the physical description, with long blonde hair and pale skin. Her personality is good natured but simple, her only passion Westley. The only time

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