Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… in poverty. Barbossa ran away from his poor upbringing when he was 13. He fled to the only place he felt a young runaway could go: the open ocean. He learned how to survive at sea, and soon enough, he was won over by the cutthroat lifestyle of a pirate.

Living… under a curse. His greed drew him to a lost treasure of Hernan Cortes, believing the tale of its curse to be a “ridiculous superstition.” Alas, no. Along with his entire crew of The Black Pearl, Barbossa is now undead; when the moonlight hits them, you can see their wretched flesh as it really is. Captain Barbossa kidnaps Elizabeth Swann in a (somewhat misguided) attempt to help lift the curse. As he tells Elizabeth, “You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner. You’re in one!” 

Profession… captain of the Black Pearl, a pirate ship. This doesn’t always mean that he’s the most respected man aboard the vessel. In fact, once he gets the whole crew cursed, there’s a lot of resentment harbored on the ship. Still, he calls the shots. And if ye don’t follow orders, ye die.

Interests… forbidden booty and mutinies. Barbossa was once Captain Jack Sparrow’s first mate but swiftly launched a mutiny upon the Black Pearl, which overthrew Jack, and wound up getting them all cursed. 

Relationship Status… non-existent. He can no longer feel “the warmth of a woman’s flesh.” Barbossa’s curse leaves him only with ghostly feelings, and thus he is unable to love a woman. Or even quench his own thirst for water.

Challenge… lifting the curse. Barbossa, the entire crew and the ship itself are in desperate need of breaking the hex to return to the land of the living. As captain of the Black Pearl, it is Barbossa’s duty to get them out of this mess – especially since he got them into it in the first place. 

Personality… pitiless, plotting, and vengeful. Barbossa is not one to forget who wronged him. He probably keeps his own personal list of trespassers to take revenge upon. He also feels entirely free to go back on his word, then use more words to muddy the issue. When caught in something of a lie about releasing Elizabeth, for instance, Barbossa justifies his trickery: “Don't dare impugn me honor, boy. I agreed she'd go free, but it was you who failed to specify when or where.”


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