Princess Bride Re-Analysis

(PBR) analysis by Denise Bartolome

bashing the wifey

I don’t really get why Goldman keeps bashing his wife (Helen) in the introduction and passages in between the story about Westley and Buttercup. It’s really kind of weird because it seems that Goldman is bipolar about women; one minute he’s talking about how annoying they can be (mostly Helen), the next moment he’s devoting a passage about their beauty (mostly Buttercup). Right now, my conclusion: G-man is either bipolar or bitter about his lot in life. I’m waiting to have some sort of epiphany about his aesthetic choice. Goldman wrote:

“…take the title words–‘true love and high adventure’–I believed in that once. I thought my life was going to follow that path. Prayed that it would. Obviously it didn’t, but I don’t think there’s high adventure left anymore. Nobody takes out a sword nowadays and cries,’Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die!’

And true love you can forget about that too. I don’t know if I love anything truly anymore beyond the porterhouse at Peter Luger’s and the cheese enchilada at El Parador’s. (Sorry about that, Helen.)”

(p. 32)

and builds up in p. 177-180

“At this point in the story, my wife wants it known that she feels violently cheated, not being allowed the scene of reconciliation on teh ravine floor between the lovers.he[Morgenstern] was continually referring to his wife in the unabridged book…Mrs. Morgenstern was rarely anything but supportive to her husband, unlike some wives I could mention (sorry about that, Helen)…”

finally, on p. 218, Goldman writes a line about the reality of life. He jabs at his son and of course, Helen as well:

“…I got a cold wife; she’s brilliant, she’s stimulating, she’s terrific; there’s no love; that’s okay too, just so long as we don’t keep expecting everything to somehow even out for us before we die.”

Yes…there is a theme of “(sorry about that, Helen).” I know it’s all supposed to be funny but every time there’s an excision in the text, I think about how Goldman had that line about true love not being real. Because of his use of “excisions”, Goldman keeps us grounded to the “real” world in a way that we can’t really get into the text. The fact that what we’re reading is Goldman’s explicitly abridged version of Morgenstein’s The Princess Bride I think has come to be Goldman’s way to remind us of the line between fantasy and reality. So why is this book under the fantasy section if Goldman is constantly interjecting about the real world? I think that even though Goldman doesn’t allow readers to fully get into Buttercup and Westley’s story, that’s not really the point. The fantasy isn’t about Buttercup and Westley; the fanstasy is actually the world that Goldman creates from Buttercup and Westley’s story. The fantasy is Goldman’s story. The fantasy world that we see is, in essence, created by Goldman’s choice in what is important to keep in the abridged version.

See here for a discussion on simulacra.


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