Study Guide

The Princess Bride Cunning and Cleverness

By William Goldman

Cunning and Cleverness

The Williams Goldman—both real and fictitious—are clever writers. After all, how else could there be so many twists and turns in the plot, keeping us guessing as to what'll happen next? On top of that, many of the characters are clever, too. Just remember how Westley bluffs Humperdinck into giving up a fight while Westley is still paralyzed, or the way Humperdinck tricks Buttercup into agreeing to marry him by hiding Westley in his Zoo of Death. Oh yes, there's more than enough cleverness in The Princess Bride to go around, and we the readers get to revel in every last bit of it.

Questions About Cunning and Cleverness

  1. Which character in this book is the cleverest? Why?
  2. Do you ever feel like this book is a little too clever? Why or why not?
  3. On a scale of one to ten, how much does the plot of this novel keep you guessing? Why?
  4. As a valuable skill, how does cleverness stack up against strength or skill in this book? Support your answer with evidence from the text.

Chew on This

In The Princess Bride, cleverness ultimately wins out over any other quality, including strength and skill.

In The Princess Bride, Goldman shows us that cleverness doesn't mean a whole lot unless you can back it up with toughness.

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