So, As I mentioned earlier in the week, I am reading The Princess Bride. Usually I try to refrain from spoilers, but I feel like most of the world has seen the movie, and the part I am going to discuss is almost verbatim from the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want spoilers, then you should stop reading and come back tomorrow.
I made the mistake the other night of saying “oh just one more chapter” about half an hour before I really needed to go to sleep (I have to be up for work at 6 on weekdays). So of course I said that at the longest chapter, where Buttercup is kidnapped, and Wesley faces three foes to reach her, and then they run through the fire swamp. the chapter is one hundred and twenty pages in my copy. So I did not finish it.
But today I finally did get to do some reading, and I finished the chapter. I knew everything that happened of course, but books and movies are always different, and the act of reading it got me thinking. Wesley fights Inigo and Fezzik in order to get to Buttercup. Inigo is the most skilled fencer in the world. Wesley beats him. Fezzik is a giant who has never lost a fight. Wesley renders him unconscious.
When Wesley meets Vizzini, they have a battle of wits. Vizzini always goes on and on about how smart he is, but he’s often wrong. Wesley outwits him. Vizzini drinks the poison and dies.
What I got to thinking about is the fact that Wesley is the Dread Pirate Roberts. He has probably killed quite a few people. But he didn’t kill Fezzik and Inigo. Was it because he respected their skill? The were truly what they were purported to be, whereas Vizzini was a fraud.
Was it because they had good hearts and Wesley could sense that? I’m not sure if I believe Wesley was in a state of mind to care about that. Perhaps it was because he knew they were only acting on orders and they didn’t really have malicious intentions.
Of course, the ultimate reason is so they can move the plot along later, but I’m ignoring that.
The theory that rings most with me is that Vizzini died because he was a liar and a cheat and truly had malicious intentions. He pretended to be smarter than everyone, and the only way to prove he wasn’t was to kill him. If left alive, Vizzini would have caused trouble later. So maybe his death was a matter of convenience.
We all pretend to be some things we aren’t. Maybe it’s with the hope we can become that. Maybe it’s so we can be accepted. but maybe the only way to truly live is to just “be” and leave pretending for appropriate times (daydreaming, acting, all the fun creative stuff). When we’re interacting with people, we shouldn’t pretend. After all, pretending to be a genius didn’t make Vizzini one. And most people around him knew it. So stop pretending. Be yourself. Have fun.