How should I start and conclude an essay on the film The Princess Bride?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Princess Bride is adapted from the William Goldman's children's book of same and directed by Rob Reiner, who usually directs adult comedies.  Goldman said he wrote the book for his daughter, and said it was an amalgam of stories read to him as a child.  Like Shrek, it is a spoof of traditional Brothers Grimm fairy tales with both child and adult humor.

First, it has a frame story, brilliantly narrated by Peter Faulk.  The crux of the story revolves around storytelling.  Faulk delivers the movie's best line when he says,

When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you.

Next, the film jumps into a too sugary love story.  When Fred Savage's character interrupts and says, "I didn't know this was a kissing book," Faulk fast-forwards to the swashbuckling scenes, reminiscent of Robinhood and old pirate movies.  In fact, Wesley, with his pencil-thin mustache and faux English accent, looks and sounds like a blonde Errol Flynn.

The rogues are what make the movie a classic.  Vezzini (the dwarfish mastermind), Inigo (fixated on revenge), and Fezzik (the lovable giant) are all archetypal characters from myths and legends.  They are all loveable, especially Inigo, who helps the Man in Black up the Cliffs of Insanity, "only to kill him."  What a gentleman!

Classic dialogue abounds: "I am not left-handed!"; "Never get involved in a land war in Asia"; "Stop rhyming, I mean it!  Anybody want a peanut?"  "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die."  Goldman plays with language in such a way that appeals to both kids and adults.

The story has holes in it.  It's got a big old Deus Ex Machina in it.  Maybe two or three.  But, it's the witty dialogue that saves it from nonsense.  It breaks rules by making up its own rules as it attempts to save the fairy tale genre from itself.  And I think it paves the way for Shrek and countless others which have followed.


Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous post did a great job of articulating the major points that should be included in an essay.  I would propose that the initial answer to this question should lie in your thesis statement.  You will have to identify what it is that you intend on proving in your essay.  Once you have determined that, I think you can introduce it around that idea.  The introduction can make direct reference to specific elements of the film's plot, of which the previous post would be very useful. It might also hone in on a specific point that will be expanded throughout the paper.  In your conclusion, reminding the reader of the points made will be helpful, in addition to trying to evoke the overall meaning and significance of the film.  I would propose that a good introduction or conclusion would include some references to the film that a seasoned viewer would comprehend fully.  For example, dropping the word "inconceivable" in a well timed situation can go far on both introduction and/ or conclusion ends.