Lessons On How To Be A Man From The Princess Bride

The movie “The Princess Bride” (Amazon affiliate link) is a comedy, though you would never know it from the preview available on the DVD.  In spite of this, the movie also demonstrates very effectively many of the qualities of a good man through the character of Wesley.  Wesley pretty much shows all the attributes of a good man:  He has honor, integrity, faithfulness, charity, persistence… let me list some examples.

Wesley falls in love with Buttercup at the beginning of the movie.  He does what he can to be near her, but doesn’t pressure her at all, and one day she finds she loves him, too.

Throughout the entire movie, Wesley never gives up.  He is kidnapped by pirates, kept away from his love for years, yet he persists.  He makes the best of that time, learning valuable new skills, but always keeping his focus on returning to his love.

Eventually he manages to find her, and follows her, having to get past a challenge of skill (the duel), a physical challenge (the wrestling with Andre the Giant), and a mental challenge.  In each case, he sets his focus on his current challenge, and bests someone who is of considerable ability in the area.  He also shows compassion for those he defeated, if they showed any themselves.

Through all this he never gives up.  When he rescues Buttercup, he doesn’t instantly reveal who he is, but challenges her own integrity.  When she shoves him away, after showing that her integrity is intact, he reveals himself.  They then try to escape through the fire swamp, where Buttercup falls into a sand trap.  Wesley dives right in after her, once again showing his honor and faithfulness.  After that, they continue through the fire swamp, where Wesley is fairly badly injured rescuing Buttercup once again.  In spite of that he persists and they make it through.

When they exit, they are confronted by Prince Humperdink and his men.  In spite of being wounded and horribly outnumbered, Wesley once again shows his honor and steps up to defend his love and their newly regained relationship.  Buttercup can’t stand the thought of losing him again and surrenders without asking him first, thinking she will save his life.  Wesley knows better, but to save her from having to see him die, he plays along, another example of his compassion.

Wesley ends up in a torture chamber, run by the Prince’s henchman and his henchman.  They torture him a bit, until the Prince come in a huff and sets the device’s torture level as high as it can go… Wesley’s screams are heard by the swordsman and giant that he fought earlier, where they are recognized as “the sound of ultimate suffering”.  Inigo, the swordsman, instantly knows that is Wesley because the sound doesn’t come from him being tortured to death, but from him knowing that “his true love marries another tonight”.

After he is revived, Wesley immediately starts seeking to once again return to his love, in spite of the fact that he can’t move.  He just never lets up… throughout the whole movie, he shows all the attributes of a good man.  He is a great example of how a man should behave, at least from what we see in the movie (I’m not endorsing piracy here).

Almost all of the other characters in the movie show both good and bad sides, just as in real life.  Even Wesley is reported to do something not really acceptable… he is the Dread Pirate Roberts, who takes no prisoners, but that bad thing doesn’t make an appearance in the movie.  All of the other characters have their flaws shown.  The swordsman and the strong man both give Wesley a fighting chance… but they’re still willing to kill him for money, and only revive him later so that the swordsman can pursue his vengeance.  Miracle Max helps, but only when it is advantageous to him.  Buttercup gives up the fight, promising to marry someone other than her love, though it IS to save her love’s life.  Prince Humperdink, the Count, the albino, and the man behind the kidnapping at the beginning show no real positive sides, although the albino is such a shallow character that he really never has a chance.

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