Study Guide

The Princess Bride Love

By William Goldman

Love

"I know this must come as something of a surprise, since all I've ever done is scorn you and degrade you and taunt you, but I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more." (1.148)

When it comes time to tell Westley that she loves him, Buttercup has some apologizing to do. After all, she's spent her whole life taunting and commanding Westley to do what she wants. But that's a fairly common way for kids to express affection.

"There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection." (1.148)

When she gets no initial reaction from Westley, Buttercup really starts to lay it on thick with her love proclamations. According to her, she simply can't live without Westley. But we learn just how fickle she is when only a few hours later, she decides that maybe Westley isn't so great after all.

"Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches." (1.184)

Westley finally responds to Buttercup's declarations of love by using a pretty confusing and awkward metaphor. But we still get the idea behind what he's saying, which is basically that he loves her a whole lot.

"Yes," Buttercup replied. There was a very long pause. "But I must never love again." (1.247)

When she learns that Westley has died at sea, Buttercup vows to never love anyone else again. And kudos to her for actually making good on this vow.

"I'll never love you."

"I wouldn't want it if I had it."

"Then by all means let us marry." (3.90)

When Buttercup warns Humperdinck that she'll never love him, he responds that he wouldn't want her to even if she did. Or in other words, a loveless marriage is totally what he's after in this case. Not exactly the romantic type, eh?

"How can you be sure?"

"Well, because we're together, hand in hand, in love." (5.1145-46)

Westley is certain that he and Buttercup will not die in a Fire Swamp because they've come way too far to die now. Buttercup isn't as sure as he is, but he believes that so long as they're in love, they'll never be separated. It's almost as if the dude knows that he's in a book where the hero isn't supposed to die.

"I love Westley. I always have. It seems I always will." (6.121)

Buttercup finally admits to Humperdinck that she loves Westley with all her heart. At this point, she still thinks that Humperdinck's a reasonable guy and that he'll step aside to let her and Westley be together. Fat chance, though. Humperdinck is way more interested in killing both of them.

At this point in the story, my wife wants it known that she feels violently cheated, not being allowed the scene of reconciliation on the ravine floor between the lovers. (5.1045)

Here, S. Morgenstern jumps into his own story and admits that his wife is mad at him for not giving the reader more of a reunion scene between the lovers Westley and Buttercup. But hey, the guy likes to keep his story moving, and at this point he feels like we've heard enough about how Buttercup and Westley feel about one another.

"Oh, my sweet Westley," Buttercup said. "What have I done to you now?" (5.983)

Buttercup eventually finds out that the man in black is actually Westley, but not before she shoves him down into a huge ravine. To her credit, though, she totally dives in after him once she realizes who he really is. That's not just love, folks—that's ravine-diving love.

Words followed her. Whispered from far, weak and warm and familiar. "As… you… wish." (5.981)

Buttercup knows that the man in black is Westley as soon as she hears the phrase "As you wish." This is the exact phrase Westley has said to her through all of his years as a farmhand for Buttercup's parents. His repetition of the phrase helps symbolize how unwavering his devotion to Buttercup is, and it looks like it has the intended effect, because Buttercup jumps down a ravine to reach him as soon as she hears him say it.

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