Jeremy Keeshin Character Development In The Princess Bride, the character William Goldman is a humorous multifaceted perfectionist cynic
who attempts to shape the world to his own likings. His obsessiveness is clearly evident in the fact that he goes to extreme lengths to acquire the book by S. Morgenstern for his son Jason. You also see his cynicism in the way that he harasses his son for being overweight. “The boy is overweight. All I suggested was he might leave a few potatoes for the rest of the world and stuff on this lovely prime pot roast your treasure has whipped up for my triumpahant return” (Goldman, 24). He says right to his son’s face and to his wife that he doesn’t approve of his son’s eating habits. An example of the way Goldman tries to shape the world to his liking is the way that he creates the good parts version. “I’d kind of bridge where there were skips in the narrative and leave the good parts alone” (Goldman, 29). The fact that he wants to take a book from his youth and completely alter it to his liking is a showing of his control and basically his humor, because, that’s just funny. Stories and Storytelling In The Princess Bride, many tools of storytelling are used to change the flow, such as the concept of breaking the fourth wall, and the idea of a story within a story. The reader reads the story of William Goldman finding a story for his son, and once he gets that, we read the story that he found (the abridged version). The idea of breaking the fourth wall is used by William Goldman the character, and by S. Morgenstern in his story. “Lie: I remember exactly what I said, except it’s too goonlike to put it down; ye gods, I’m forty years old” (Goldman, 13). This was an excerpt from part of note in parentheses from Goldman telling the account of what he said to Sandy Sterling. The interesting thing
Jeremy Keeshin about many of the little side notes in the parentheses is that their main point is contradicting or confirming what he just stated in the previous sentence. This side note idea contributed to humor of the story, and I will discuss that in the following paragraph. Comedy In The Princess Bride, humor is what keeps the reader into the book, and is achieved by funny ironic statements or things that sound so goofy that it’s almost impossible to not laugh. “He runs (waddles)” (Goldman, 22). In that instance, Goldman was poking fun at his son for being overweight and he repeated the joke of saying that instead of running, he waddles. The whole good parts concept is hilarious too just because it’s such an innocent lazy request that is so true; seriously, why would anyone want to read the bad parts? “And true love you can forget about too. I don’t know if I love anything truly any more beyond the porterhouse at Peter Luger’s and the cheese enchilada at El Parador’s (Sorry about that Helen)” (Goldman, 30). This statement is humorous because he is saying that he loves food over his wife, which is probably true, and is exactly what makes that funny. There is also that one paragraph that says “Chocolate” (Goldman, 33). The reason that is funny is because its one word and its random and those two things make something funny. “The horse’s name was “Horse” (Buttercup was never long on imagination)” (Goldman, 35). This statement is comedic because this is the lamest name you could possibly come up for about anything. It is similar to calling a person “Human” or a dog “dog.” But people do call dogs “dog,” so that nullifies that last statement. However, when people call dogs “dog” it is funny. There are probably fifty more statements that I underlined that were funny but you can sum them up with more of an idea. When telling S. Morgenstern’s good parts, a parentheses is often inserted that will
Jeremy Keeshin set the setting of the specific action. It might be taking place before something or after something. It might also be taking place between two things that don’t make sense. Then you read on a paragraph and you realize that Goldman addresses that in his text and you just crack up. That happens on page 39 and 40 in italics. “This was after taste too, but only just” (Goldman, 39). “This was after taxes. But everything is after taxes. Taxes were even here before stew” (Goldman, 42). It is rather difficult to explain the humor of the last two quotes, but if you read that and don’t laugh, then I don’t even know. Goldman is making fun of certain certainties that we take for granted as never existing, such as taste and taxes and stew.