Princess Bride Analysis

Heroes are brave, determined, courageous, and selfless people whop embark on a journey in order to fulfill a goal for the better good, every heroes journey is different. Some heroes fight dragons to save the castle and some like Westley steal the princess in order to protect her, Westley goes on a long journey where he faces many enemies and challenges but, he continues his journey to rescue his one true love.
In The Princess Bride a novel by William Goldman, the character Westley is a hero because, he experiences all 6 stages of the heroic archetype structure including being called to action, crossing threshold, the road of tests, meeting the helpers, trip to the underworld, and the quest. The first stage of the archetypal structure is the call to action, Westley call to action is when he discovers his true love Buttercup has been kidnapped.
Westley jumps into action and was “ sailing like lightning towards the cliffs,”(Goldman 114) in order to catch Buttercup’s Kidnappers and save her. He knows he must save his true love or his life will be nothing so he embarks on his journey to get Buttercup back so they can be together, This is cal to action because as soon as he hears his true love is in distress he goes to save her immeaditley. Another stage of the heroic achetype is crossing the threshold, which Is what Westley does when he climbs the Cliffs of Insanity.
After reaching the cliffs Westley began to climb up them trailing behind the kidnappers he “ seemed to almost be flying. Already he had cut their lead a hundred feet”(Goldman 115). This is crossing the threshold because this is the point in Westley’s journey where there is no turning back he will either succeed or fail on his journey. One of the biggest archetypal stages is the road of tests, every heroes road of tests varies some have many and some have few, in Westley’s case he has multiple tests throughout his journey.
After reaching the top of the Cliffs of Insanity where Inigo is waiting for him, Inigo lets Westley catch his breath then “they touched swords”(Goldman 146) and began their fencing duel that ends up with with Westley tying “Inigo’s hands around a tree and (leaves) him there” (Glodman 152). Wetsley also battles Fezzick in a wrestling match and when Westley wins he leaves Fezzik unconcious, he then goes on to a battle of witts against Vizzini where Westley wins and leaves Vizzini dead on the ground. Througout his journey he faces a couple more tests but he overcomes all and continues with his journey.
A major part in a hero’s journey is their trip to the underworld, after the trip to the underworld the hero comes back stronger, better, and more mature; Westleys trip to the underworld is very traumatic because Westley actually dies. Inigo and Fezzik hear the scream that came from the Zoo of Death they investigate and they find “Westley (lying) dead by the machine” (Goldman 286) that killed him, but after a trip to Miracle Max he takes the magical pill and Fezzik finds Westley alive and exclaims “’you’re alive!’”(Goldman 329).
When Westley comes back to life he has broken heart and is also paralyzed, but that does not stop him and his sidekicks they push on and break into the castle. A crucial part in every heros journey is the archetypal stage where the hero meets his mentor or helper which can be anybody who helps along the journey such as a sidekick, during Westley’s journey he finds two helpers who both began as his enemies.
Westleys two helpers are Inigo and Fezzik they both do whatever is needed of them but ultimately they save Westleys life when he dies, and help him break into the castle and rescue his true love. After they discover Westleys dead body in the Zoo of Death Inigo tells Fezzik “’ Come, come along. Bring the body’”(Goldman 307) they then take his body to Miracle Max who gives Inigo and Fezzik the magical pill to bring Westley back to life. Inigo and Fezzik then head back with still dead Westley and “Fezzik had been carrying the corpse the whole way”(Goldman 326).
Without Westley’s helpers he would have remained dead never to be reunited with his true love. The final Stage in the hero’s journey is the quest, in Wetley’s case this is after he comes back to life and he gets help from Inigo and Fezzik to break in the castle to rescue Buttercup from the evil Prince Humperdink. After gaining entrance to the castle and finding his true love Buttercup they escape the castle together with Inigo and Fezzik and they were riding “four great horses[… ] toward (the) Florin Channel”(Goldman356) and lived happily ever after.
This is the quest because his original goal was to save his true love Buttercup and while it all did not go as planned they ended up together and free. In The Princess Bride Westley has all the characteristics of a great hero and he follows the heroic archetypal. He goes to rescue his true love from kindnappers, he climbs the Cliffs of Insanity, he battles the kidnappers, he dies and comes back to life, he has helpers that saved his life and assist him on his quest, he breaks into the castle and rescues his true love Buttercup, and they all live happily ever after.


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