It has always seemed to me that the Pirates of the Caribbean resembles Homer’s Odyssey in certain important respects. I suppose the story of a sailor on hostile seas, facing gods & monsters in the pursuit of the thing he loves – the mind of Penelope – is pretty obvious, if you think of it that way. But let’s take it slow: first, immortality, which Calypso had promised Odysseus.
In the beginning, Jack Sparrow has to stand trial for his crimes in London, only he is not Jack Sparrow, though the court of law has no idea of him. Then Jack Sparrow impersonates the justice & sentences Jack Sparrow to life in prison, commuted from death by hanging. Then both Jack Sparrows get into the Black Maria & off they go to make their escape.
Then Jack Sparrow realizes it was a trap & he is taken to the king, who has no idea of him, but who has need of him. The English & Spanish are seeking the mythical fountain of youth. We know Jack Sparrow was himself to have tried, but he is silent. – Jack Sparrow learns that Jack Sparrow has been going around London recruiting a crew. – He is shocked to learn he is being impersonated. He also meets his old enemy Barbossa, now a privateer in her majesty’s service, what with those Letters of Marque… Then he is off to make his escape again, his flamboyance hiding his discretion.
His ancient old father then tells him the fountain will test him. Already it is testing him: so soon as he searches for immortality, Jack Sparrow is hardly Jack Sparrow anymore: he even has to ask a common crook if he knows who he is… Jack Sparrow then fights Jack Sparrow in a duel to the death & it is just as well Jack Sparrow has not lost his skill with the sword… This seems to be the problem with immortality: we can barely tell the difference between objects & their images anymore.
But we love Jack Sparrow & so we hang on to him, as if we know who he is. The fountain is not said to offer immortality, but youth, which we believe means immortal youth. But youth also means newness & therefore daring. As the poet says, beauty is youth, youth beauty. Jack Sparrow also loves Jack Sparrow and hence he falls on him & kisses him at the end of the fight. Jack Sparrow was being impersonated by a woman. Immortality suggests that Jack Sparrow is both man & woman. However, Jack Sparrow is no gentleman: he says he honestly mistook a convent for a brothel. He is apparently undeceived by appearances…
Go Here to Read the Review of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 1
Go Here to Read the Review of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2
Go Here to Read the Review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Go Here to Read the Review of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Go Here to Read the Review of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 1