The Man in Black

The Man in Black

    The Princess Bride
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… as Westley, a farm boy in love with Buttercup, a young girl who lived on his farm. No matter what she asked, he always replied, “As you wish.” When he left to find riches, planning to return and marry Buttercup, he mysteriously disappeared and was presumed dead.

Living… under the guise of the “Man in Black.” He returns to the land of Florin in pursuit of a trio of outlaws who kidnapped Buttercup. Now calling himself the Dread Pirate Roberts, Westley’s true identity remains secret as he sword-fights his way to Buttercup’s rescue. But without knowing who he really is, Buttercup is unlikely to trust him with her life, and may even end up going through with her betrothal to Prince Humperdinck of Florin, a man she doesn’t truly love.

Profession… pirate, specifically the Dread Pirate Roberts. It turns out that the moniker is merely a title held by many men over the years to inspire fear in their enemies. Westley was captured by the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, but his life was spared even though the Dread Pirate Roberts is infamous for leaving no survivors. Instead, Westley grew closer to the Dread Pirate, and eventually inherited the title himself.

Interests… swordplay, wits and trickery, and Buttercup. When he wants something bad enough he’s willing to learn any trick or technique that will help him in his quest.

Relationship Status… single. As a youth, his love for Buttercup never faltered, and even to this day, he strives to take her in his arms again. The real question is if her love for him remains. After all, she has agreed to marry the smarmy Prince of Florin.

Challenge… rescuing Buttercup. There are many obstacles standing in his way. Buttercup has been kidnapped by a cunning Sicilian named Vizzini and his henchmen, a powerful giant (Fezzik) and a master swordfighter (Inigo Montoya). Toss in the Prince and his six-fingered right-hand man, the evil Count Rugen, and Westley/The Man in Black has his work cut out for him.

Personality… ingenious, clever, and snarky. Westley, or whatever name he’s going by at the moment, is a very charming and confident guy, even spouting witticisms during battle. He remains tall, dark (in clothing anyway), handsome, and mysterious no matter the occasion.


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