Princess Bride Re-Analysis

(PBR) analysis by Denise Bartolome

dystopia found in “The Machine”

In a way, the negative use of machines and technology in The Princess Bride shows a type of dystopia. By having the “bad guys” use and title a torturing contraption as “the Machine” we see how technology is used for bad rather than good. One could argue that later, when Westley is revived by Miracle Max, technology can be used in a positive way. However, it’s not really technology because Miracle Max uses magic and witchcraft.

p. 237-238, The Count’s almost-monologue about pain to Westley, who he had been torturing for a month:

“I think pain is the most underrated emotion available to us…The Serpent, to my interpretation, was pain. Pain has been with us always, and it always irritates me when people say ‘as imporant as life and death’ because the proper phrase, to my mind, should be, ‘as important as pain and death.’ One of my theories is that pain involves anticipation. Nothing original, I admit, but I’m going to demonstrate to you what I mean: I will not, underline not, use the Machine on you this evening…But instead I will simply erect it and leave it beside you, for you to stare at the next twenty-four hours…

…I want you to know one thing before tomorrow night happens to you, and I mean it: you are the strongest, the most brilliant and brave, the most altogether worthy creature it has ever been my privilege to meet, and I fell almost sad that, for the purposes of my book and future pain scholars, I must destroy you..

And you can stop all your performing about how weak and beaten you are; you haven’t fooled me for a month. You’re practically as strong now as on the day you entered the Fire Swamp. I know your secret, if that’s any consolation to you

You’ve been taking your brain away…You raise your eyes and drop your eyelids and then you’re off, probably with–I don’t know–her, most likely.”

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