Friday, July 11, 2008

The Theme of "The Sins of Prince Saradine"

You said that this month's topic was "The Sins of Prince Saradine." Well, here's my discussion of it. Please criticize and even contradict.

“But only slightly less well-known is ‘Never trust a Sicilian when life is on the line.’”
----------The Princess Bride
Despite the fact that The Princess Bride is incredibly Chestertonian, despite the fact that this quote is good advice, and despite the vengeful Sicilian, this quote is not the main theme of “The Sins of Prince Saradine.” What the story focuses on, however, is that sin requires punishment. And the unpunished sin is quite possibly the worst of all.
The very plot of the story brings out this theme. The Sicilian, whose sin (although it is not the smallest) is the most human, receives a relatively light punishment, the punishment of the state. The prince’s brother, whose sin is less sympathizable and less serious, dies as a result of his love of money. The prince, however goes unpunished for his sin of deception and double murder. Yet, he leads a miserable most of his life hiding from the vengeful Sicilian. Most importantly, the image of the sly double criminal smugly enjoying his own possessions when he should be enjoying the comforts of jail leaves the reader rightly puzzled, fascinated, and inebriated with a sense of the lack of justice. As a supplement to the plot, small details such as the prince’s psychologically crazy mirrors and the maid’s mysterious allusion to the fact that the good brother is not really the good one add to the sense that the real prince is a whitewashed tomb filled with unsettling decay. By the time Chesterton is finished with us, we want justice and realize its necessity. Hopefully, however, we will not go the route of the Sicilian--or Domingo Montoya.


Anonymous said...

Actually the quote from the Princess bride is this: "But only slightly less well known is this "Never go in againsta Sicilian when death is on the line!!"
Great post. Sorry about the correction, I'm just picky since I know the movie by heart...

RoseinFaith said...

Ah, fpcannon, you got to fixing that quote before me! :P 'Tis a shame we couldn't quote the whole thing...

"Vizzini: But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
Man in Black: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.
Vizzini: Wait til I get going! Now, where was I?"

Ahem. :D

However, that is beside the point...

Old Fashioned Liberal, good theme essay! Since you welcomed criticism, may I make just one suggestion? Since the sin of the prince is left unpunished, wouldn't the theme be that the greatest sins of this world do not receive punishment (or justice) in this world, and are often left to the eternal Justice of God (after death)? I'm not certain, though.

Just from a composition point of view, I would suggest making a clearer, definitive statement of the theme at the end of the first paragraph. I had to re-read it before I understood what (and where) exactly you said was the theme; however, it is likely that that misapprehension is my own fault, and not yours! :) Still, might a clearer topic sentence be beneficial?

God Bless!

don pedro said...

It's IƱigo, not Domingo ;-P

Does the story happen to remind anyone of El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra?

Algernon said...

It seems that the Old Fashioned Liberal can't do anything right to day! ;-D

On the discussion: It's kind of interesting how you almost hate the Prince for getting out untill you realize that his eternal puniment will be worse then anything you might have wanted for him on earth. Puts things into perspective.