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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest


Courage on the high seas

The Dead Man’s chest hides the devil’s beating heart. Jack Sparrow wants to find it. The devil is coming for him & there literally will be hell to pay. Jack Sparrow, we learn, knew both the devil & a witch, & made deals with both. Jack Sparrow loves the Black Pearl because it makes him feel immortal; but the truth is that he will die, & die an unjust man. This seems to be the meaning of his deal with the devil. This terrifies him. The witch gives him what he needs to escape from the devil, forcing him to reflect on the contradiction of immortality.

Two examples of immortality are portrayed for our education, both horrible, both arising out of fear. First, the Flying Dutchman’s crew, the devil’s ship. Afraid of death, they agree to slave labor on the ship for an hundred years. They slowly turn into water fauna. Apparently, the human being is perishable. You can keep the image, but not the soul. The look of man is therefore twisted: these men knew death is injustice & hoped that it was not inevitable. Second, a tribe of cannibals who think Jack Sparrow is a god & so will eat him. They fear the powers that bring destruction: so they commit the fundamental injustice for power, again, to defend themselves.

The end of the first story resolved nothing. Except that it broke all the laws. This time, we get to see the consequences of that idealism. Because they were broken, the laws serve to show people’s character when they take their vengeance. We see things in a much sobering light now: nothing turns out to have been what it seemed. Commodore Norrington is court-martialed for his gallant actions. – He turns into a drunkard & later a traitor. He was just the image of moderation, apparently, but really was given to immoral desires. – The Governor, Elizabeth’s father, loses the governorship & is imprisoned. His incompetence & that tinge of cowardice will get him killed, but he cannot control himself even now. He just seemed to be majestic & authoritative: really, he was a small man. Apparently, the vengeance of the laws strips men of virtue.

Elizabeth makes a deal with the British & hunts Jack Sparrow, because her good requires his destruction, & there is no way around it. But he is a pirate, so he probably deserves it anyway. Will makes a deal with the British in order to save Elizabeth & her father, ever the moral man. But the laws are now obviously evil, so he is bewildered & really inactive. In the end, Jack Sparrow is killed & Barbossa resurrected. This is poetic justice. – Apparently, speeches are lies; now deeds must be truth.

For fans of the show

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: At World’s End
Go Here to Read the Review of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 1
Go Here to Read the Review of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2