Captain Jack Sparrow
The Indeppth Profile of the World’s most famous Pirate Captain. Written by Morgana.
Everyone knows that Captain Jack Sparrow is funny. Who could deny that? He has plenty of great one-liners, snappy comebacks and strange hand gestures, and he seems to be perpetually drunk. Popping up everywhere and stealing every scene he is in, the pirates Pintel and Ragetti have to run to keep up with him as comic relief. But besides his humorous qualities, there is something else that makes Jack stand out as a great character. It is that he has other dimensions to his personality that aren’t always so apparent. In the writer’s commentary of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Captain Jack is compared to Bugs Bunny, specifically in the scene when he outwits the clueless guards Murtogg and Mullroy ("Unless, of course, he knew you wouldn’t believe the truth even if he told it to you…"). This inclination of trickery, the combination of good and evil, is something that makes him a truly unique, three-dimensional character.
We the movie viewers are constantly switching between seeing the comical, bumbling side of Jack’s personality that gets in all sorts of trouble, and the manipulative side that gets him out of trouble. If we look closely, we can observe that he is much smarter than he leads everyone to believe. This is not always easy, of course. It is very easy to be misled by the persona we usually see. Yes, it’s extremely amusing, but we must remember that a swaggering walk is natural for someone who has spent so much time at sea, and that he is by no means the only character to have a dependency on rum, an eighteenth century sailor’s equivalent of coffee in the modern world, if you will.
And yet even the other characters can’t see past this. In fact, there’s a recurring piece of plot of Jack’s insight being ignored by Norrington because of his outward appearance and actions, which continues even into the second movie, after Norrington’s turn to piracy ("My God, you actually were telling the truth." "I do that quite a lot, yet people are always surprised."). Even the smartest characters at times seem to view Jack as being a dense and useless liar, but in the end the situation is usually reversed, with Jack being able to outwit them in some way, and turn the situation to his advantage.
When we stop and think about it, Jack could be considered the most cunning character in the movies. This part of his personality is darker, only brought out when he wants something and knows that he can weasel it out of another character. When Jack realizes that he can make a bargain, he completely changes and focuses on the business at hand. We see much more of this in the second movie, because it’s his life that’s on the line, not Will and Elizabeth’s. It’s then that we can stop and think, what else could he be hiding? So much of Jack’s life is hidden from us that it’s hard to figure out what makes him tick. Insights into his past are few and murky ("ay, sea turtles"), but we do know that Jack has a long history of making bad negotiations that lead to trouble. We also know that he can usually get himself out of trouble as well, and if he needs help, that he has no problem with endangering someone else to get his way.
It is interesting, however, to note that he never anticipates being betrayed himself. This is evidenced even before the story begins, when he naively gives up the directions to the Isla de Muerta to Barbossa, not suspecting the mutiny that was to follow. And when he is the one doing the deceiving, Jack never seems to think of the possibility that the people he took advantage of would attempt to settle the score, and thus is caught off guard when someone else manipulates him. It is this worst form of payback that lands him in the mouth of the dreaded Kraken at the end of Dead Man’s Chest. With this is mind, we can only wonder what will be revealed about our beloved Captain, and what will happen to him, in the final installation of the trilogy. But we can be sure that he won’t leave us without a few laughs at the end.
Captain Jack Sparrow Quotes
"When you marooned me on that god forsaken spit of land, you forgot one very important thing, mate: I’m Captain Jack Sparrow."
"Stop blowing holes in my ship!"
"Parleley, parlelellyleloooo, par le nee, partner, par… snip, parsley…"
"Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!"
"Son, I’m Captain Jack Sparrow. Savvy?"