The Princess Bride Key and Lesson Plan Ideas Introduction

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The Princess Bride Key and Lesson Plan Ideas

Introduction (Before reading anything in the book)

Suggested Activities

  • What type of story is this?

  • Do an ABC brainstorm on fairytales

  • Why do people love fairytales?

  • What are the elements of a fairytale?

  • Have students do a comparison chart of different fairytales.

  • PowerPoints

  • Anticipation Guide (see folder)

  • Extended Activity (honors): Have students research the original version of a fairytale and compare it to the Disney version. Have students write a comparison contrast essay, citing sources. See file in folder for links to original stories.

  • Video on motif


  • Genres

  • Elements of a fairytale

  • Comparison/contrast

  • Research

  • Frame narrative

  • Motif

Journal Questions

What things do you expect to see in a fairytale?

What does the following quote mean?

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 
― Albert Einstein

Prologue (pages 1-36. I’m skipping anything with Roman numerals.)

Suggested Activities

  • Have students read the two opposing opinions regarding fairytales. Have them write a persuasive essay supporting their stance. (See slideshow also)

  • Abridgement Activity (see folder)

  • Have students begin Story Grammar graphic organizer (see folder)





Point of view



Pages 5 and 8


Pages 4 and 7


Page 14

Persuasive writing




Page 7


Page 7


Page 7


Page 8


Page 26


Page 34

Journal Questions

Describe a moment that greatly impacted your life.

Should children be exposed to scary stories?

What does the following quote mean? Do you agree or disagree with it?

“I really feel that we're not giving children enough credit for distinguishing what's right and what's wrong. I, for one, devoured fairy tales as a little girl. I certainly didn't believe that kissing frogs would lead me to a prince, or that eating a mysterious apple would poison me, or that with the magical "Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo" I would get a beautiful dress and a pumpkin carriage. I also don't believe that looking in a mirror and saying "Candyman, Candyman, Candyman" will make some awful serial killer come after me. I believe that many children recognize Harry Potter for what it is, fantasy literature. I'm sure there will always be some that take it too far, but that's the case with everything. I believe it's much better to engage in dialog with children to explain the difference between fantasy and reality. Then they are better equipped to deal with people who might have taken it too far.” 
― J.K. Rowling

Study Questions

  1. What are some conflicts Billy reveals? He hates school, hates reading, is alone

  2. How is the narrator’s future profession ironic? He hated to read, but he writes books.

  3. Why was Miss Roginski so important to him? She cared about him.

  4. Describe the flashback. Autumn 1941. When he read the Princess Bride.

  5. What was the father’s motive for reading the book to the son? The son is sick. To make him feel better and to entertain him.

  6. How did the book impact him? Page 10. He began to love books.

  7. Read the father’s descriptions on pages 8-10. Describe him. Ugly, slow, not successful, caring.

  8. How is this retelling of a book the author never read? His father read it to him.

  9. Why did he write the abridged version? It changed his life.

Chapter 1 “The Bride”

Suggested Activities

  • True Love Activity (see folder)

  • Have students compare the movie script to the novel (comparison/contrast).,-The.html

  • Have students write a job description of a pirate. Have them watch the Veggie Tale clip on pirates.

  • Have students read “Six Absurd Pirate Myths Everyone Believes” . WARNING: Has questionable language. You might want to edit it!

  • Have students read “Brief History of Pirates” .

  • Show video “Life Aboard a Pirate Ship” . Scroll down for more pirate videos from the history channel!

  • Read about modern pirates.

  • Extended Activity (grades 9-12): Have students compare the events in the novel to The Odyssey. Example:






Pages 45, 47, 50



Pages 49, 58, 63

Author’s purpose

Page 46

Intrusive Narrator





Page 45


Page 53


Page 60


Page 60

Et cetera

Page 65


Page 66

Journal Questions

Are pretty people treated differently than others?

What is your definition of love?

Describe a time when you thought life was not fair.

Study Questions

  1. How did the point of view change? It went from first person to third person.

  2. Explain how this is a frame narrative. Goldman is pretending to tell us a story that he was told as a child.

  3. Why do you think William Goldman chooses to use the literary device of the fictional “pre-existing text”? To establish the willful suspension of disbelief.

  4. Since there isn’t really a S. Morgenstern, and Goldman wrote the whole thing himself, why did he structure his story like this? To give it a fairytale quality.

  5. Why does the author begin with the background about beautiful women? To serve as a comparison for Buttercup’s beauty

  6. What is Buttercup’s conflict with the other girls her age? They didn’t like her getting all the boys’ attention.

  7. What is Buttercup’s conflict with the boys her age? They followed her around and annoyed her.

  8. Find an example of hyperbole.

  9. What was the real purpose of the count’s visit? To see Buttercup

  10. Why didn’t he tell the truth? He was worried about offending her parents and possibly his wife.

  11. Why did Buttercup treat Westley badly after the visit from the count? Jealousy

  12. What tone does Goldman use to describe her confession of love and Wesley’s response? How does this compare with traditional episodes of Fairy-tale love? Ironic, anticlimactic, not the resolution. It is not the ending; instead, it is the beginning.

  13. The chapter is full of historical inaccuracies. List three.

  14. Why would the author include these inaccuracies? To be funny. To remind us that it is fiction.

  15. How does Buttercup change? She becomes a woman. She begins to groom. She becomes more beautiful.

  16. What happens to Westley? Pirates!

  17. How is the story like a fairytale? Cite evidence.

  18. How is it different than a fairytale? Cite evidence.

Chapter 2 “The Groom”

Suggested Activities

  • Show the fractured fairytale “Prince Darling.”

    • What is the king’s problem?

    • How is he rewarded for his kindness?

    • What is ironic about the prince’s name?

    • How is the prince punished for his actions?

    • How is this prince different than the typical prince in a fairytale?

    • What do the rings symbolize?

  • Have them design their own zoo of death. You might can modify the “Design a Zoo Activity” in the folder.







Page 73


Page 75


Page 75


Page 74



Page 73


Page 75


Page 76

Journal Questions

Are zoos a good or bad idea?

What animal would you describe as the most deadly? Why?

What does the following quote mean?

“Every fairy tale had a bloody lining. Every one had teeth and claws.” 
― Alice Hoffman

Study Questions

  1. Find a simile.

  2. Find a metaphor.

  3. Describe the prince physically. Huge

  4. How is the Zoo of Death ironic? He takes care of the animals to kill them.

  5. How would you characterize the Prince’s brand of sadism? Gross

  6. How are these elements of sadism and evil necessary to the universe of a fairy tale? The story has to have a bad guy (to create conflict).

Chapter 3 “The Courtship”

Suggested Activities

  • Show the fractured fairytale clip “The Ugly Duckling”

    • What is important to the duckling?

    • What problems does the duckling face?

    • What is the theme of the clip?

    • What is ironic about the clip?

    • How is this version of The Ugly Duckling different than the original?

    • Why do you think the creator changed the story?

    • What does this clip reflect about our society?

  • Have student watch the overview of the Cinderella story

  • Have students watch the Cinderella satire (OLDER STUDENTS ONLY)

  • Have students read the two Cinderella poems (see folder). Have them analyze the point of view in each poem.






Pages 81 and 83


Point of view



Page 81


Page 82


Page 85

Journal Questions

What things should a person consider then looking for someone to marry?

How does physical appearance impact love?

What does the following quote mean?

“There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast,' that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” 
― G.K. Chesterton

Study Questions

  1. What is ironic about the queen being the most beloved in the kingdom? Prince calls her E.S.

  2. Why did the prince refuse to marry Princess Noreena? She was bald, and he feared people would laugh.

  3. What did you learn about the prince in this chapter? Cite textual evidence. Spoiled, mean, self-centered

  4. How does this resemble a fairytale?

  5. How is it different than a fairytale?

Chapter 4 “The Preparations”

Suggested Activities

  • Watch Princess Diaries trailer. Have students brainstorm a list of requirements for behaving like a princess.

  • Read about royal etiquette or or

  • Watch Duck Dynasty clip on etiquette.

  • Have students write a “how to” or give a speech on royal etiquette.

  • Have students pretend that Buttercup was sent to princess school. Have them design a class schedule for her. Each class must contain a course description.

  • Watch video on foreshadowing






Page 93




Page 93

Journal Questions

Are people judged by the way they act?

Is a princess expected to behave differently than a regular girl?

What rules should a member of royalty have to follow?

Study Questions

  1. Find an example of foreshadowing. Terrific business dealing with . . .

  2. What is the tone of the chapter? Bored, impatient, dismissive

Chapter 5 “The Announcement”

Suggested Activities

  • Stereotype Activity (see folder)

  • Characterization Activity (see folder)

  • Examine the song “Crazy Kind of Love.” How does it compare to Wesley’s love?






Pages 99, 101, 108,112


Pages 99, 100, 102, 119


Page 99



Pages 101 and 114



Page 99


Page 102


Page 107


Page 109


Page 109


Page 112


Page 113


Page 118

Journal Questions

What does the following quote mean?

“When I was a little girl I used to read fairy tales. In fairy tales you meet Prince Charming and he's everything you ever wanted. In fairy tales the bad guy is very easy to spot. The bad guy is always wearing a black cape so you always know who he is. Then you grow up and you realize that Prince Charming is not as easy to find as you thought. You realize the bad guy is not wearing a black cape and he's not easy to spot; he's really funny, and he makes you laugh, and he has perfect hair.” 
― Taylor Swift

What are some motives people have for committing a crime?

What is the difference between an excuse and a reason? Explain.

Study Questions

  1. How does Buttercup defy the prince? She walks with the commoners.

  2. Find an example of irony.

  3. What is the motive behind Buttercup’s abduction? To start a war.

  4. List an internal and an external conflict from this chapter.

  5. “Excuses are the refuge of cowards.” What does this mean? Don’t hide from your mistakes.

  6. Find a metaphor on page 107.


Suggested Activities

  • Have students read “The History of Sword Making” .

  • Have students watch a sword making video .

  • Have students watch “How to Fence”

  • Have students research famous mythological swords.






Page 120


Pages 120 and 121


Page 143



Page 120


Page 138

Journal Questions

How important is money in your life?

Describe a challenge you are facing.

What do you want more than anything else?

Study Questions

  1. What literary device is used at the start of the section? What is its purpose? Flashback. To understand Inigo.

  2. Why does Montoya decline Yeste’s request? It is not a challenge.

  3. What is ironic about Montoya being poor? His work is better than Yeste’s.

  4. Why does the visitor need a special sword? He has six fingers.

  5. Why does Montoya agree to make it? It is a challenge.

  6. How does the nobleman act when the sword was finished? Why did he behave this way? He wants to belittle his work to get a better price.

  7. What did the nobleman do to Inigo? Why did he do this? Scar him as punishment or a reminder.

  8. Does wealth make Yeste happy? Use textual evidence to support your claim. No. See page 134.

  9. What has Inigo been doing for 10 years? Learning to fence.

  10. What was the purpose of this? To kill the six fingered man.

  11. How does the author create suspense in this passage? Short sentences

  12. What is ironic about Inigo helping the man? He plans to kill him. Situational

  13. Why was the man in black following them? They have precious cargo.

  14. What was the man in black’s motive for not killing Inigo? Inigo is too much of an artist (talented).


Suggested Activities

  • Show the fractured fairytale clip “Jack and the Beanstalk”

    • Why did the giant resort to crime?

    • How are the giants portrayed in the clip?

    • How is the point of view different in this story than in the original?

    • What is the theme of the clip?

    • What other works contain giants? How are the giants portrayed?

  • Show the video clips on rodents.

  • Read the letter associated with the reunion scene (see folder).

  • Have students research propaganda (see folder for a practice activity), looking for messages dealing with products that make life better. Show video to go with the exercise. (What is their message? Who is their audience? Why is their purpose? Are they selling something?) Compare this to the “Life is pain” quote.





Author’s purpose




Page 174


Page 175


Page 175


Page 181


Page 205


Page 208


Page 209

Journal Questions

What things do you fear?

Do you prefer physical challenges or mental challenges? Why?

Describe a time when you pretended to be someone you are not.

How is someone’s reputation important?

Who are some people you can trust?

Study Questions

  1. What was Fezzik’s weakness as a child? He would not fight.

  2. “Life is pain,” his mother said. “Anybody that says different is selling something.” Explain this quote.

  3. What does “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” mean?

  4. What is ironic about Fizzik’s ability? He hates fighting.

  5. How does the man in black handle conflict? He does not kill unless he has to and tries to reason or negotiate when he can. That he is actually not evil.

  6. What is Fezzik’s greatest fear? To be alone

  7. What do Fezzik and Inigo have in common? They both are talented. They both fear being alone.

  8. Why does the man in black not kill them? They have talent.

  9. How is Vizzini more dangerous than the other two? He’s smart.

  10. Explain the quote “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.” Asia is a huge land mass. You would lose.

  11. What is ironic about the man in black’s test with the iocan powder? Both cups were poisoned. What type of irony? situational

  12. What was Vizzini’s fatal flaw? Pride

  13. In the early part of the story Buttercup’s kidnappers are known only as the Spaniard, the Turk, and the Sicilian. But as each of these men prepares to battle the Man in Black, the reader learns the kidnapper’s name, his history, and how he became part of “the most effective criminal organization in the civilized world.” How does this affect our reading of the subsequent battle scenes?

  14. What does Buttercup realize as the man in black falls off the cliff? He is Westley.

  15. How does the point-of-view change as Buttercup falls? Why would the author do this?

  16. Why would the author choose not to include the reunion scene? To be funny.

  17. Why would Buttercup trust Westley in the fire swamp? He is confident. She loves him.

  18. What was Westley’s relationship with Dread Pirate Roberts? They are the same person.

  19. How have things changed for Westley and Buttercup in the last three years? He rules the seas. She will soon become queen.

  20. How does Westley defeat the R.O.U.S.? He uses their thirst for blood against him.

  21. What does the prince plan for Westley? To have someone torture him.

Chapter 6 “Festivities”

  • Have students do a characterization activity with character cubes.

  • Have students analyze the song “Live Like You Were Dying.” What does the man’s final actions/decisions say about what he wanted to accomplish with his life? What are his priorities?

  • Have students listen to “Turn Me On” Discuss the characteristics of a hero and a hero’s journey. Use this site for videos and graphic organizers . Show this video . This is a great idea for a graphic organizer . Use this video to go along with it .

  • Have students compose Buttercup’s love letter to Westley.









Page 224

Hero’s Journey



Page 223


Page 256


Pages 255 and 247


Page 252


Page 258


Page 261


Page 262


Page 264


Page 264


Page 270


Page 286

Journal Questions

If you were king/queen for a day, what would you do?

Describe a time when you were in pain.

What are some things you live for?

What does it take to be a hero?

Study Questions

  1. Why was Buttercup called the Queen of garbage? She threw away love.

  2. Why is it wrong to let people believe life is fair? Life is not fair.

  3. What is a theme in this book? Life is not fair.

  4. Find an example of foreshadowing.

  5. What do the children in the dreams symbolize? Guilt

  6. What bargain do the prince and Buttercup make? He will try to contact Westley.

  7. What are the prince’s plans concerning Buttercup? To kill her

  8. What is his motive? To start a ware

  9. Describe the tortures Westley endures. Burning, slashes, burns, breaks, the Machine

  10. Why doesn’t the prince kill Westley? He wants him to suffer and wants Buttercup to admit that he is the better man.

  11. Aside from Buttercup, what is Westley living for? Explain what this is. He is living for revenge. He has suffered a great deal because of this man, and he wants to get even.

  12. What are the names of the ships on which Westley sails? What could they symbolize? Queen’s Pride and Revenge. His reasons for living.

  13. Describe the Machine. Why does the author use a capital M. It has suction cups and sucks the life out of its victims. The capital M gives it more importance.

  14. Why does Inigo want to find Westley? To help him plan

  15. How does Buttercup discover that the prince lied to her? He slips up about the number of ships.

  16. The author says his “heart was now a secret garden.” What does this mean? It was isolated and hidden.

  17. Give an example of foreshadowing at the end of the chapter.

  18. Apart from the aside on page 224, find another one. Describe it and explain its purpose.

  19. Thus far, Westley has been an almost perfect hero, without any discernible faults. This is especially evident when he is undergoing the torture in this section. It seems like he can do no wrong. Do you think Westley is a more compelling character because he doesn’t have any faults? Or does not having any faults make him more difficult to relate to?

Chapter 7 “The Wedding”

  • PowerPoint Activity (see folder)








Page 320

Journal Questions

Describe your dream wedding.

What do you do in a hopeless situation?

Study Questions

  1. What is Inigo’s motive for lying to Fizzik? To get him to act

  2. Describe each level of the zoo.

  3. How does Inigo react to Westley’s death? He breaks down.

  4. What are the different types of dead? Sort of dead, mostly dead, and all dead

  5. What is Miracle Max’s motive for helping them? To make the princes suffer and money

  6. What was the prince’s motive for revealing his plans to Yellin? To keep him from resigning his post (to bribe him).

  7. Why is Buttercup so calm? She has faith in Westley.

  8. What is the prince’s motive for moving up the attack? He fears an attack.

Chapter 8 “The Honeymoon”

Suggested Activities

  • Have students watch the video on allusions

  • Show ESPN Allusion. or

  • Happily Ever After Activity (see folder)

  • What Makes a Lasting Relationship Activity (see folder)

  • Have students look at the comic book online.

  • Have students compare the ending of the novel to the film version. Have students complete a Venn diagram of the two.







Author’s purpose



Hero’s journey



Page 340


Page 342


Page 352


Page 352


Page 355

Journal Questions

Who is your favorite character? Why?

What makes a lasting relationship (see activity in chapter 8 folder)?

Is true love inconceivable? Explain.

What does this quote mean? What terror of mankind does the novel try to conquer?

“Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time, and perhaps earlier, have been “a means to conquer the terrors of mankind through metaphor.” 
― Jack Zipes

Study Questions

  1. Give an example of a flashback. Page 338

  2. Find an example of irony. Label it as verbal, situational, or dramatic. The count runs away.

  3. Why does the author keep giving the time? To build suspense.

  4. How is live fairer than death?

  5. What did Westley mean when he told Buttercup that she was not married? He was going to make her a widow.

  6. How does the entire book relate the Hero’s Journey that we studied? What are elements in the book that are taken from the Hero’s Journey? How is this book different than a typical Hero’s Journey?

  7. How would you define a fairy tale? Do you think this book fits that description? What are elements of fairy tales that are in the book?

  8. How does Goldman use the idea of a fake writer writing about a fake country with a fake history as the basis for much of the book’s humor? Would the story be worse or better if he just wrote it in the “normal” way? Why?

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