December 23, 2013


'As You Wish' : True (Self-)Love and The Princess Bride (JORDAN J. BALLOR, Winter 2014, University Bookman)

As much as The Princess Bride trucks in the ideals of true love, heroism, and adventure, the gritty details of a scene like this with Miracle Max evince an insightful realism in the midst of fantasy. Relatedly, the limits of revenge as a motive strike home in the successful realization of Inigo's quest. As the actor Mandy Patinkin recently said in reflecting on the film, his favorite line has become Inigo's confession at the conclusion of the tale. Patinkin says that as he has grown older he has come to appreciate the ambiguity of Inigo's conclusion about what comes after vengeance: "Is very strange. I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life."

Westley provides a timely response: "Have you ever considered piracy?" he asks. "You'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts." In this ending we catch another resonance from Augustine's meditations on the confrontation between pirate and emperor. For as long as political tyranny persists, as long as oppression prevents true love and association between human beings, there will be a need for reckoning. For as Augustine asks, "Justice removed, then, what are kingdoms but great bands of robbers?" The Princess Bride offers a worthy testimony--attired in the garb of fanciful narrative, adventure, true love, revenge, and self-interest--to the need for justice in political order.

Posted by at December 23, 2013 5:12 PM

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