Treasure Island is a cherished adventure novel written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson in 1881. His story painted scenes which have had an enormous influence on popular pirate imagery and culture. Treasure Island narrates tales of treasure maps leading to buried gold on tropical islands, peg legs, parrots and gallant quests. Many of us equate the life of a pirate during the Golden Age of Pirates with that of the events told in this great piece of literature.
Who was Long John Silver?
One of the main antagonists and most popular characters from Treasure Island is a pirate named Long John Silver. Stevenson certainly made his mark on pirate culture by giving us this classic personality, one that has influenced so many pirating figures that came to follow. Long John Silver is a character whose image many people conjure to mind when the word ‘pirate’ is spoken.
Silver’s Peg Leg
Long John Silver sports a peg leg, a now famous aspect associated with pirate culture. This image brings to the imagination backstory scenes of dangerous battles and pillages, with the consequences to be worn.
The imagery of a parrot sat casually on the shoulder, perhaps acquired from some distant exotic land, also originates from this literary rapscallion.
Aside from physical attributes, Long John Silver is also shown to be cunning and persuasive, as a pirate should be. His role on the ship was actually that of Quartermaster, he would take care of the food and drinks on board. Despite rankings however, he could influence the decisions and ideas of other characters. He charms his way out of tight spots throughout the novel and uses a creative flattery to get what he wants from who he wants.
A loveable rogue
Although he might change allegiances for his own personal benefit and mislead others with his intentions, Long John Silver is still just so likeable. He is brave, intelligent and funny, making him the original loveable rogue. Readers find themselves rooting for him in all his schemes and adventures. In fact, the appeal of Long John Silver is perhaps a key part of the success of Treasure Island as a beloved and enduring pirate adventure novel.
The story is original and creative in its presentation of a colorful and spirited pirate culture, which is still enjoyed and renowned today.