Study Guide

The Princess Bride Love

By William Goldman


Guess what? Love is a major theme in The Princess Bride. In fact, it's probably the most important theme of all, since it totally drives the action of the whole story and it's the last thing mentioned as the book comes to a close. After all, this story would end almost immediately if Westley and Buttercup didn't love one another so deeply. And Westley never would have pursued Buttercup up the Cliffs of Insanity, which means Buttercup would have been killed by Vizzini. Way different book, right?

On top of all that, Goldman (the real one? the fake one? who knows…) truly believes (as he tells us several times) that high adventure and true love are two of the best things you could ever hope to find in a story. And we can't help but agree with him.

Questions About Love

  1. What are some of the different kinds of love that pop up in this book? Where do we find examples of marital love, family love, or romantic love? How are they different and how are they the same?
  2. Are there limits to the love that Buttercup and Westley have for one another? If so, what are they?
  3. Why does William Goldman refuse to give us a happily-ever-after ending when it comes to the love between Buttercup and Westley? What does it tell us about the theme of love in this book?
  4. Why do you think love is such a common theme in literature? Why is it more common, say, than the theme of madness, or the theme of… uh… sandwiches?

Chew on This

In The Princess Bride, we learn that love is never perfect, but something that requires a lot of work over a long period of time.

In The Princess Bride, we learn that there is nothing stronger than the emotion of love, not even fear or death.

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