The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Start Your Free Trial

Download The Princess Bride Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Social Concerns / Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The story of Buttercup and Westley, the princess bride and the Dread Pirate Roberts, respectively, is in the form of a fairy tale originally recorded by S. Morgenstern and written for a contemporary audience by William Goldman. The novel is a "modern" fairy tale with everything the modern world has come to expect in a story. But in the manner of old fairy tales the place and the time of the action are not specified.

The Princess Bride reflects the violence and the absurdities of the modern world; there are fist fights, sword fights, instruments of torture, poisonings, disfigurations, and death. In addition to these elements, the world of the novel is populated with misfits: a giant with tremendous strength, a hunchback with great intelligence, a scarred Spaniard with only his father's revenge on his mind, an albino, and an unlikely princess with an unlikely rescuer.

The theme of the novel centers on the trials and tribulations of true love. Love is not idealized, but it is lasting. Buttercup never ceases to love Westley even though she fears him dead at one point and even though she bickers with him immediately after she finds out he is alive.