Princess Bride and the Law/Gospel Distinction

One thing that is already great about my trip to MI (BTW, come on out and party with me Thursday!) is that I get to spend some time and just read!  On the plane (and during the drive from O’Hare to GRusalem, in which I absconded my fatherly duties and made Mrs. Rad drive, so I could read) I got about halfway through The Princess Bride.  The movie is so good (as everybody knows) that I can’t believe how much better the book is!  Seriously, if you loved the movie, then you’ll need to invent a word beyond love to describe how you feel about the book.

Ennnnyways, I ran across a great line that I just had to etch onto the wall of the Outhouse for all to enjoy.  One of the many ways that the book outshines the movie, is that the man-in-black’s battles with Inigo and Fezzik are each prefaced by flashbacks to their pre-Vizzini backstories.  All that remains of Fezzik’s story is the single line in the movie: “Do you want me to send you back to where you were?  Unemployed?  In Greenland?”  Likewise, Inigo’s story is distilled down to “When I found you, you were so slobbering drunk, you couldn’t buy brandy!”  Well, here’s the very end of Inigo’s story, describing the nature of his dependence on “The Sicilian”:

The hunchback [Vizzini] was the leader.  There was never doubt.  Without him, Inigo knew where he would be: on his back begging wine in some alley entrance.  The Sicilian’s word was not just law, it was gospel.  So when he said, “Kill the man in black,” all other possibilities ceased to exist.  The man in black had to die….

When I read that line, I just about fell out of my seat!  (Except with American’s miserly leg room, and a seat-back in my face, I was pretty safely wedged in there.)  It seems that Goldman somewhere acquired a biblical understanding of the Law/Gospel distinction; otherwise the pun doesn’t make sense. Vizzini may have been a bossy law-monger, but the point of the passage was that he was also Inigo’s savior.  Whaddya think?

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12 Responses to Princess Bride and the Law/Gospel Distinction

  1. Rick says:

    Inconceivable.

    I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    But it might.

    (someone had to)

  2. Chunck says:

    Who played Mandy Patinkin in the book?

  3. Todd says:

    It’s still Arminian because he is only mostly dead

  4. Zrim says:

    Todd,

    I believe it was Wesley, not Inigo, who was mostly dead all day. Wesley was not indebted to Vizzini as lord and savior. Good thing, too, since Wesley could slip him some iocane. What kind of lord is that?

  5. Todd says:

    I’m not listening!

  6. Rick says:

    Todd,
    Funny none-the-less.

    P.S.
    Never get involved in a land war in Asia and never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line. Ever.

  7. RubeRad says:

    No more quotes now, I mean it!

  8. RubeRad says:

    Anybody want a peanut?

  9. Chris M. says:

    Personally, I like Fezzik’s humility

    Inigo: “You know Fezzik, you finally did something right.”

    Fezzik: “Don’t worry, I won’t let it go to my head.”

  10. Ha! The first post has the line I wanted to quote.

    Oh, BTW. watch and be amused. A well executed fan modification of a critical scene.

  11. Rick says:

    Personally, I would have taken this post in the direction of rushing miracle workers and getting rotten miracles as a result. But that’s me.

  12. Chris M. says:

    “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!”

    My wife likes to quote that to me.

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