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If you’ve read The Princess Bride by William Goldman, you may remember the scene where the kidnappers are taking Buttercup up the Cliffs of Insanity and the Man in Black is climbing up after them.

After they reach the top and let the rope go the Sicilian says that when the Man in Black “[...] will be dead long before he hits the water. The fall will do it, not the crash”.

The book states that the Cliffs of Insanity are “at least 1,000 feet” tall. The Man in Black is dangling at 700ft when the Sicilian says he will die from falling.

Question:

Would the falling alone kill the Man in Black and if so why would it kill him?

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closed as off-topic by Shadowzee, EDL, user535733, Measure of despare., Hohmannfan Aug 16 at 7:15

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – Shadowzee, EDL, user535733, Measure of despare., Hohmannfan
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ No. The act of accelerating towards the ground at 9.8m/s^2 will not kill. It is the sudden deceleration when hitting the ground that will. This seems more story based than anything. I fail to see how there is a worldbuilding question here. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Aug 16 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ MiB would bang against the rock multiple times on his way down. $\endgroup$ – Renan Aug 16 at 2:07
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    $\begingroup$ This question is not about world building it is instead about the story in an already built world and would be better ask on SciFi and Fantasy.SE $\endgroup$ – JGreenwell Aug 16 at 3:03
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    $\begingroup$ Tens of thousands of skydivers regularly fall from much higher altitudes, and survive the fall perfectly well unless their chutes fail to open. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Aug 16 at 5:13
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    $\begingroup$ His survival is clearly inconceivable. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Aug 16 at 10:48
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I think it's that they're no ordinary cliffs, theyre the cliffs of insanity. He may have meant, metaphorically, that falling even through a short distance of whatever aura, or source of insanity these cliffs hold to cause their namesake would break his mind, which could be considered a kind of death to a man who considers his brain to be his biggest asset.

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    $\begingroup$ Upvoted exclusively for the name $\endgroup$ – Dubukay Aug 16 at 6:35
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That depends on what precisely is meant by "the fall".

If we are meant to assume that Vizzini is assuming that the Man in Black will be in freefall the whole time, then no, the fall would not kill him; Vizzini is just being characteristically a lot dumber than he thinks he is.

However, that need not be what he means. The cliffs are not completely smooth and shear; as the Man in Black falls, we can therefore reasonably assume that he will bounce off the rocks at least once on the way down before hitting the water. Is that guaranteed to kill him? No; that would just be Vizzini being overconfident. But it certainly could.

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The Man in Black would not only avoid the rocks and survive the fall, but would somehow cleverly manage to turn the fall to his advantage and wind up farther up the cliff than ever.

He might not even reach the water. He's just that good.

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