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In The Princess Bride, there are at least two different people who aim to start a war between Florin and Guilder by assassinating the princess: Vizzini and Prince Humperdinck.

Now rulers seeking excuses to start wars with neighbouring countries is a common enough phenomenon: perhaps Humperdinck is ambitious and wishes to conquer Guilder, but needs the support of his people before he can declare war upon them. But what about Vizzini? What interest does a Sicilian have in starting a war between these two countries, and why does he take so many risks and expend so much effort in order to do so?

What was Vizzini's motive for starting a war between Florin and Guilder?

(This question was inspired by our Princess Bride movie night last night in Mos Eisley.)

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    An interesting followup question would be why does Humperdinck want to start a war? That is not covered in the movie, but is in the book. – mikeazo Aug 31 '16 at 15:07
  • @mikeazo Added to the list, but I already have several more movie-based Princess Bride questions coming up ... – Rand al'Thor Aug 31 '16 at 15:09
  • Great! Looking forward to them – mikeazo Aug 31 '16 at 15:10
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    Well, Vizzini knows that the most famous of classic blunders is to "never get involved in a land war in Asia"! Oh wait, wrong war... – Thunderforge Aug 31 '16 at 15:44
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Because Humperdinck hired him to.

He mentions it when he and Count Rugen are outside the Pit of despair. The first plan was for Vizzini to kill her near Guilder to spark a war. Plan B is for Humperdinck to do it himself.

I know, the people are quite taken with her. It's odd, but when I hired Vizzini to have her murdered on our engagement day, I thought that was clever. But it's going to be so much more moving when I strangle her on our wedding night. Once Guilder is blamed, the nation will truly be outraged - they'll demand we go to war.

It's notable (since @Geoff notes it in comments) that Vizzini also thinks he's part of a grand undertaking.

I've hired you to help me start a war. It's a prestigious line of work, with a long and glorious tradition.

Since we're not really given anything else about his history though, we don't know how many other wars are on his resume, so it's also very possible he just likes inflating his ego and being part of Humperdinck's plan makes that easy.

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    Additionally, Vizzini sees the act of starting wars as "a prestigious line of work, with a long and glorious tradition." He's starting THIS war because Humperdink hired him to, but he seems to be motivated by something he views as a higher purpose. – Geoff Aug 31 '16 at 16:35
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    @Randal'Thor - is it bad that I see that, go "cool", and all I can do after is curse the daily cap? I've only hit it twice I think, and I still have to cry over all my lost points for one popular answer. Ah well. Blather over. Thank you! – Radhil Aug 31 '16 at 17:15
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    @Geoff - point, and I've added that in somewhat. – Radhil Aug 31 '16 at 17:20
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    @Geoff: Sounds like an attempt at self-justification - he's projecting onto others his own moral reservations, which he does not allow himself to exhibit, and explains to "the other person", to himself really, why is actually not in the wrong with this undertaking. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Aug 31 '16 at 21:33
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    The book mentions that Vizzini had ambitions to conquer worlds ever since he was a child, "From the beginning, when as a child he realized his humped body would never conquer worlds" – mikeazo Sep 1 '16 at 13:53
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He was hired by Prince Humperdinck to do it.

Relevant quote...

It's odd, but when I hired Vizzini to have her murdered on our engagement day, I thought that was clever. But it's going to be so much more moving when I strangle her on our wedding night.

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