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The Princess Bride

Chapter Eight

Summary Chapter Eight

Back at 5:41, Rugen flings a Florinese dagger into Inigo's stomach.

At 5:50 in the prince's room, Humperdinck enters, dives for his weapons and cries out, "To the death!" only to be countered by Westley saying, "To the pain."

At 5:42 Inigo prepares to die and apologizes to his father, who bursts into his mind and forces him to continue fighting. Inigo wrenches the knife from his bleeding stomach and pursues Rugen with an even intensified vengeance. Finally, Inigo cuts Rugen, corners him and kills him. At 5:50, he has at last taken his revenge.

Meanwhile at 5:52, Westley is explaining to Humperdinck the meaning of "To the pain," saying that if they duel and Westley wins, he will keep the prince alive, only after slicing off his wrists and ankles and nose and eyes. He will leave the ears, so that he can hear all the cries of fear at his hideousness. Having thoroughly startled Humperdinck, Westley demands him to drop his sword, and he does. Buttercup ties him up, and around this time Inigo enters, and Fezzik calls from out the window that he has found four white horses in the prince's stable so that the four of them can ride away together. But once out the window Yellin and his Brute Squad confront them. To everybody's surprise, Buttercup rescues them all by demanding as Queen that they all run inside and tend to Humperdinck's safety, and so they do.

They ride away to freedom, and Buttercup and Westley promise to outlive each other, and William Goldman ends the book. He comments that when his father read it like this, it always seemed to have ended suddenly. Only now does he read S. Morgenstern's actual ending, in which Inigo's wound reopens, Westley relapsed, Fezzik took a wrong turn and Buttercup's horse threw a shoe, while the prince's horses followed in pursuit. William Goldman enters the text here again, saying that he personally believes that they all got away, lived with squabbles and dilemmas, but mostly happily ever after. He repeats again that life is not fair, but it is fairer than death.

Analysis

Two things that distinguish this chapter are time fragmentations and the loosely interpreted ending. In addressing the former, we must note that Chapter eight is divided into many fragments, each labeled with its exact time of occurrence, each following one of the four main good characters and eventually zeroing in on all of them, when they come together at the end. Everything is timed, and we move back and forth between minutes; we know that Buttercup and Westley reunite at 5:48, and we learn about this before finding that Inigo is wounded by a Florinese dagger at 5:41. Time is made into a mosaic throughout this chapter, lending a sense of urgency to the events occurring, and especially making us aware that Westley's resurrection pill is about to expire.