Cutler Beckett

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Pirates of the Caribbean character
Lord Cutler Beckett
Beckett400px.jpg
Gender Male
Profession East India Trading Co. (E.I.T.C.) Chairman
Duly appointed Representative of His Majesty the King[1][2]
Ship(s) served on Sentinel
HMS Endeavour[3]
Weaponry Pistol[3][4]
Davy Jones[5]
Flying Dutchman[5]
Appearance(s) Dead Man's Chest
At World's End
Portrayed by Tom Hollander

Lord Cutler Beckett[6] is a fictional character portrayed by Tom Hollander in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean films. In Dead Man's Chest he serves as secondary antagonist and as main antagonist in At World's End. A devious, ruthless, manipulative, elegant, and treacherous mastermind, Beckett is the chairman of the East India Trading Company (a fictionalized version of the East India Company), and representative of King George II of Great Britain.

Backstory[edit]

Beckett's backstory wasn't fully revealed until the release of Ann C. Crispin's novel Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom. Cutler Beckett was born and raised in England. At very young age, Beckett took employment in Great Britain's East India Trading Co. While on a mission for the Company, he was captured by pirates led by Christophe-Julien de Rapièr. He was tortured for several weeks, an experience which left him with eternal hatred for all maritime outlaws, before he was ransomed by the Company. Over the years, he became the EITC Director for West Africa. Thirteen years prior to the events of Dead Man's Chest, Beckett provided Jack Sparrow (who was under the employment of the E.I.T.C.) with the Wicked Wench to transport "a certain cargo" to the island of New Avalon in the Bahamas for Beckett's superior Viscount Penwallow. On voyage, Sparrow discovered the cargo was slaves and set them free on the island of Kerma off the west coast of Africa. Beckett became enraged upon learning Sparrow's deed. Beckett ordered the Wicked Wench sunk and branded Sparrow a pirate.

The Beckett character claims in Dead Man's Chest that Sparrow also left a mark on him. In the first movie, Commodore Norrington reveals a "P" branded on Jack's arm, saying Jack has had a run-in with the EITC. When William Turner asks Beckett what mark Sparrow left on him, Beckett merely changes the subject. Whatever it was, Turner surmised it was serious enough that what Beckett wants most in the world (with regards to him using Jack's compass) is to see him dead.

Most of the "dirty work" Beckett desires is carried out by his right-hand man, Ian Mercer.

Appearances[edit]

Cutler Beckett makes no appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, although it is mentioned that Jack managed to escape several agents of the East India Trading Co. The books state that Jack's arm was branded because Jack refused to sin against God by transporting slaves and freed prisoners on his ship called the Wicked Wench. After this disobedience a furious Beckett in response ordered Jack's ship to be sunk and Jack branded a pirate. He was then imprisoned but he escaped and left a mysterious mark on Beckett that was so wounding to him that it resulted in him wishing more in the world to see Captain Jack Sparrow dead. Jack after fleeing tried to save his sinking ship but ended up going down with it; finding himself near to dying Jack then was found by Davy Jones and Jack promised Jones to serve Jones's ship The Flying Dutchman if Jones raised the newly named Black Pearl for Jack to captain for 13 years before the debt was due. Jack repaired his ship, painted it black, bought several black sails to make it the fastest ship in the Caribbean world and then hired his own pirate crew. Beckett learned from several battles with the Black Pearl that Jack was alive; when Jack vanished he was initially declared dead.

Dead Man's Chest[edit]

Beckett makes his first appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest as Chairman of the East India Trading Co. Beckett arrives at Port Royal seemingly to set it in order under Company control after the events of The Curse of the Black Pearl. Beckett carries warrants of arrest for the people involved in the events of the first film; Jack Sparrow (the pirate involved); Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann (aided in his escape); and James Norrington who resigned his commission months prior and disappeared (failed to go after Sparrow immediately)[7] - Beckett however offers a deal to Turner.[3] If Turner successfully locates Jack Sparrow for Beckett to employ as a privateer for England with his Letters of Marque and brings back Sparrow's compass for Beckett's use, Turner and Swann will be pardoned. Beckett desires the compass to locate the "Dead Man's Chest"; whomsoever possesses Davy Jones's heart within it, may dominate him by extortion and thus the ocean by extension.[8] This would allow Beckett to purge the seas from Pirates en-masse.[8]

During the course of the film, Beckett has an artisan working on a massive painting of the World's map over his office's back wall. Throughout different scenes seen, the painting is slowly being completed.[3][9][10] The producers of Dead Man's Chest use this symbolically to represent the World getting "smaller" as England's East India Trading Co. gains worldwide influence, thus leaving no more "freedom" in the world. When Beckett tells Turner he must give Jack Sparrow letters of marque to Jack to get him to unconditionally accept a pardon/commission as a privateer Will warns him that Jack will not agree with Beckett's idea about employment giving him freedom. In reply Beckett states, "Jack Sparrow is a dying breed [a pirate]. The world is shrinking; the blank edges of the map filled in. Jack must find his place in the new world or perish."[3]

Will agrees and departs but Governor Swann has arranged a trip to London for Elizabeth with a friend of his; a captain of a local ship. When Beckett learns this and knowing that Elizabeth is the glue holding Will's agreement with him; he has his best friend Ian Mercer kill the captain and arrest Governor Swann for helping Elizabeth escape prison. However Elizabeth manages to escape the ambush, confront Beckett with a pistol to force him to sign and validate Letters of Marque to free Will, but only if she gets Beckett Jack's compass in return also.[11][9]

After Elizabeth leaves Beckett imprisons Swann when Mercer reveals that he found a letter to the king on Governor Swann, giving a negative review on Beckett's authority and letting the king know what Beckett is illegally doing. Blackmailing him, he lets Swann know that he is sending EITC ships after the Black Pearl and if it is caught he will keep Elizabeth alive if Swann agrees to not tell the king about Beckett's crimes but good reports on Beckett's presence; also ignoring the fact that Swann warns him with that the Pearl is impossible to catch because of its' speed.

At the end of the story, Norrington arrives at Beckett's home with his Letters of Marque and presents to him a sack containing Jones's beating Heart as an exchange for his "old life." Beckett in return makes him an Admiral of the East India Trading Company, and then the flying Dutchman arrives to Port Royal and Beckett is informed that the map of the world he requested is complete- meaning the British are now world-dominant. [1]."[10]

At World's End[edit]

Tom Hollander returns as Lord Cutler Beckett in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End; in this film he has been appointed representative of the King of England.[1] Beckett's ambitions now turn to discovering the Brethren Court and eliminating it, thus rendering pirates worldwide leaderless, allowing Beckett to exterminate them. At a mass hanging of people convicted of piracy or association with pirates, the prisoners start singing Hoist the Colours, a signal for the Brethren to assemble- as planned by Beckett.[1] Meanwhile, the seas are being terrorized by the Flying Dutchman (now under Company control), which is destroying pirate ships mercilessly and leaving none alive. This annoys Beckett, who needs prisoners to interrogate.[5] He later has Governor Weatherby Swann assassinated after because he "knows too much" and places Admiral Norrington in charge of the Dutchman.[12] Beckett then sails his ship-of-the-line, the Endeavour, to Singapore, where he learns that the Brethren will meet.[13]

By the middle of the film, Beckett acquires the Black Pearl in Asian seas through trickery and deception by Sao Feng who was originally promised the ship by Beckett.[14] When he encounters Jack Sparrow for the first time since their branding, Beckett learns that the Brethren are meeting at Shipwreck Cove and makes a deal with Sparrow. If Jack brings the Brethren and pirates out from the nigh-impregnable fortress to him, Beckett will keep Sparrow from Jones's judgment and will let him live. Beckett at first thinks about confiscating Jack's compass to find the Brethren, but Jack Sparrow warns him that the compass points to his most desired thing and since Beckett's desire is to see him (Jack) dead all the compass would point to: Jack himself. Beckett decides to kill Jack Sparrow to satisfy this desire and then use the compass to find the Brethren but Jack makes another part of the deal that results with Beckett cancelling the killing. [14] Sparrow however flees with the Pearl after managing to damage Beckett's ship enough to have to postpone the pursuing of the Pearl. After finding Will Turner adrift at sea, Beckett, Turner, and Jones sail to Shipwreck Cove using Sparrow's compass. They arrive with an E.I.T.C. armada encompassing hundreds of ships, and the Pirate Lords have agreed to go to war at Jack's urging.[4] During a parley with Elizabeth, Barbossa, and Jack, Beckett calls Jack out as the "grand architect" of their plan, and Elizabeth gives Jack to Jones in exchange for Will's release; however, Jack had planned for this to happen, so he could get on board the Flying Dutchman and stab Jones' heart.

After an epic battle between the Flying Dutchman and the Black Pearl, Beckett is worried his advantage is lost when the Pearl seemingly sinks the Dutchman. When it resurfaces, he orders the Endeavour and the Dutchman forward to order an attack on the Pearl, and does not realize that he has lost control of the former ship, now commanded by Will Turner. However, the Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchman flank the Endeavour and open fire, tearing the ship apart. Beckett, stunned, disbelieving & unable to give orders, stays on board his ship as the crew abandons it. He slowly descends the deck stairs as his world, his dreams of control, and his ambitions fly apart around him, until the powder magazine of the Endeavour explodes, killing Beckett in the process.

Tie-ins[edit]

Outside films, Cutler Beckett appears in the novel Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom. He is an EITC Director for West Africa, presiding over the EITC businesses from his office in Calabar. He gives Jack Sparrow the merchant vessel Wicked Wench, and sends Jack to search for the mythical island of Zerzura. When Jack frees a cargo of black slaves, Beckett orders his men to burn the ship.

In the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean Online MMORPG game, Cutler Beckett does not appear as an actual character in the game, but there is a place known as Beckett's Quarry on one of the islands the player can visit. This place is a maze of mining tunnels where the E.I.T.C. apparently forces prisoners into manual labor. Also, the island Kingshead is a massive fortress said to be built to Beckett's standards for overseeing East India's activities in the region.

Merchandise[edit]

There has been little merchandise for Beckett. Zizzle finally made him into an action figure for their toy line,[15] but the figure saw a limited release and became highly sought after. It is now almost impossible to get, making it the rarest Pirates of the Caribbean figure.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.1
  2. ^ Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, page 44, "Lord Cutler Beckett" (the "Letters" are pictured having "king George"'s signature, it is assumed he is the first)
  3. ^ a b c d e Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.3
  4. ^ a b Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.19
  5. ^ a b c Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.5
  6. ^ The "Letters of Marque", with the signature of Lord Cutler Beckett - Disney exhibition of the theatrical properties used in the movie
  7. ^ Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.1
  8. ^ a b Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.18
  9. ^ a b Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.16
  10. ^ a b Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.27
  11. ^ Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Ch.6
  12. ^ Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.12
  13. ^ Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.4
  14. ^ a b Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.11
  15. ^ "GD Archives: Zizzle At World's End Lord Cutler Beckett!," Toy Figure Times (1/30/2008).