In the movie, Westley takes Buttercup from Vizzini and begins evading Humperdinck who is searching for her (perhaps not really, but Westley thinks that this is the case).

While they are on the run, Westley interrogates Buttercup and discovers that she still loves him and not Humperdinck. Westley didn't know this before the revelation.

So, why did he kidnap what Vizzini had rightfully stolen?

  • Was it to hurt her by denying her marriage to Humperdinck?
  • Was it to save her life because he got wind of Vizzini's plan and even though he may resent that she loves another, he still cares deeply for her?
  • Was it because he suspected that she still loved him?

Perhaps Westely wasn't so heroic in his original intentions.

  • Ransom maybe? Dread Pirate Roberts and whatnot.
    – Misha R
    Nov 4 '16 at 4:50

He was angry with her. His continuing charade of the "kidnapping" is a channel for his wrath and a test to see what her true feelings are.

In the original novel, Westley is described as seething over Buttercup's engagement as he watches her before she's kidnapped. His full state of mind isn't really detailed, but his later interrogation of her reveals much. He views her engagement to Humperdinck as a betrayal of their love, disregarding the fact that she thought he was dead, and that princes don't really take no for an answer. After all, he did keep himself alive among violent pirates, rose to own his own ship, and worked his rear off to make his fortune and eventually return to her. It did put a slight crimp in his plans to find her about to be married off. So he's rescuing her from Vizzini because he loves her, and screwing with her afterwards because he feels hurt and betrayed.

That this is utterly ridiculous behavior even for someone with true love driving him is pretty obvious, and it was toned down somewhat when the movie was made. That one sequence between the Battle of Wits and the Fire Swamp is pretty much all that remains of Westley's rage, which while he forgave her as soon as he understood she wanted nothing to do with Humperdinck, still plagued him further into the book.

Dragging her along also has the just-as-important twofer effect of keeping her out of Humperdinck's hands while they sort out their mess of a love story. It does no good to test her, reveal himself, and confirm their love if they can't escape together after.

Whether this ejects Westley from the category of hero or not can be left to the tastes of the reader/watcher.

  • I always thought it was to stop Vizzini from killing her on the border?
    – CHEESE
    Nov 4 '16 at 12:57
  • @CHEESE - Well, the chase and rescue was for that, yes. The you're-my-victim-now business right after is what I thought was being asked about. After all, that's the actual kidnapping - if he was just there to save her life and nothing more, he would've left her with Vizzini's corpse to wait for Humperdinck to catch up.
    – Radhil
    Nov 4 '16 at 13:08
  • 1
    "That this is utterly ridiculous behavior even for someone with true love driving him is pretty obvious," Not really, humans are driven by emotions. Nov 4 '16 at 13:28
  • @WayneInYak - um, yeah. That's why it still works as a scene, because it's emotional, and probably pretty true. That doesn't negate that pretending you're dead for many years and expecting your partner to just assume you're still alive and will come back for you without a single word or letter telling her you're alive, then blaming her for an engagement that was maybe 80% out of her hands with the remaining 20% just going along BECAUSE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD, is pretty damn ridiculous. It still works, because, ahhhhh, true love, and you can forgive your love their crazy.
    – Radhil
    Nov 4 '16 at 13:38
  • This is pretty much right, but some quotes from the book would help flesh out the answer.
    – DavidS
    Nov 4 '16 at 14:16

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