Most of what we know about pirates has been passed down to us through literature, scraps of historical records, art and (more recently) movies. The true pirate characters of history are either too badly behaved to idolize, like Blackbeard or Bartholomew Roberts, or too “respectable” to be labeled pirate, preferring “privateer” instead, like Sir Francis Drake and Captain Henry Morgan. The truth is that most of what we know about pirates comes from fiction, so lets take a look at the most notorious pirates from fiction.
Treasure Island’s Long John Silver
Long John Silver has a lot to answer for in our glorification of pirates as well as our perceptions of pirate-speak! In Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Long John Silver came to life with his wooden leg and parrot pet sat upon his shoulder, painting a picture of the iconic pirate who we all try to hate but can’t.
Peter Pan’s Captain Hook
There is no mistaking Captain Hook. Like Long John Silver, his hook for a hand mimics the likelihood of maiming in the real world of pirates and fuels the daring and dastardly image of the iconic pirate Captain. For many of us, Captain Hook was our first pirate meeting, setting the tone for a love-hate relationship until Johnny Depp came along to steal our hearts.
The Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow
Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the charismatic yet hopelessly dysfunctional Jack Sparrow has gone a long way to revive our love of pirates and their antisocial ways. Like the lovable highwayman, we forgive his crimes and somehow hope he is saved from the hangman’s noose or Davy Jones’ Locker. No maiming, all his limbs are intact, but his love of rum and treasure are typicals features for a pirate.
Who’s your favorite fictional pirate? Comment below…