Jack Sparrow Anti-Hero … Essay
Pages: 5 (1772 words) | Style: n/a | Sources: 0
The character of Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series is a successful anti-hero because the character advocates the idea of humanitarianism and ideals of freedom. In addition, the character breaks from stereotypical hero development arc, and even the normal definition of intelligence. Anti-heroes like Sparrow have evolved in response to a more complex view of the world that people hold, as Garrett (319) argues is the driving force behind the modern development of the anti-hero.
Among the traits of an anti-hero would be unconventional appearance by the standards of beauty. While no viewer would question whether or not Johnny Depp is attractive, the Sparrow character has a unique experience. He is handsome at the core, a prerequisite for most heroes, but otherwise the physical presentation of the Sparrow character is distinctive, and unconventional. His attire is flamboyant and rumpled, which combined with extensive use of makeup lend an effeminate appearance to Jack Sparrow. The character is independent, but in an unrestrained, mad way. While he can be chivalrous and wise, he also walks the line between good and evil, and his behavior is unpredictable according to the normal hero paradigm. His pursuit of freedom is admirable, but his attitudes towards others are strange, and his thoughts and dialogue sometimes stranger still.
The viewer sees just enough "hero" character traits to allow Sparrow to be presented as an anti-hero, but these traits are counterbalanced with heel turns that tell the audience that Jack Sparrow will never be a true hero, even if he has some admirable traits. The audience comes to see the character as not being "bad," even when he feels he has to do something bad to his friends. His decision-making, while not resting on the deontological purity of most heroes, is instead more utilitarian, where he seeks to derive maximum benefit for minimum cost. The viewer must choose, however, between seeing Sparrow as this character who sometimes does bad things, and the character who deep down has a good heart.
The anti-hero therefore has to be good of heart, but carry some other outward character flaw. Jack Sparrow's combination of outward appearance, and his actions, will typically cast him as a villain were it not for the fact that many scenes reveal the goodness of his character, even when acting selfishly, because there is noble sacrifice involved. Jack's complex relationship with Elizabeth shows some of his goodness. According to the whole film, it repeatedly explains a truth: everybody makes a decision for the benefit of his own. Therefore someone deduces a situation: Jake accepts Elizabeth's kiss and is deceived just because of the instinct of men's love for the beauty. This is a cruel reality, and it also proves that for such a clever, decisive, and almost omnipotent Jack, there is also one of the most fatal weakness-women (Ebert, 42).
Captain Jack Sparrow is a rascal image. His dramatic body language, action, and humorous words "please call me Captain Jack Sparrow!" leave during impression to the audiences. His existence is the provocation to the upper nobility. He uses his incomplete compass when floating in the vast sea. He is not a real hero, because he will flee when he is in danger. What he wants is not only the rule of a ship, but also the whole ocean. He is betrayed and thrown onto the island. He lays on the beach dances with wine. He uses his smart brain to win back what he has lost. The crazy blood flows in his body. He is more a mad man than a pirate. Foucault once said that the water quality is a kind of gloomy disordered state and a mixed flow. Its start and end result of all things, and it is opposed to the lively, mature and stable. The characterization of madness is like the water quality. There is no doubt that this blood flows in Captain Jack Sparrow's body.
One of Jack Sparrow's character flaws is paranoia. Viewed a weakness in our society, paranoia is not a trait associated with a classic hero, who should be fearless. He also has a villain-sized ego, for example he does not like anyone to call his name Jack Sparrow. The word "captain" must be added in front of the name. At the end of the first series when Jack is hanging, the judge reads out his name Jack Sparrow. Jack still says to himself: "Captain, Captain Jack Sparrow!" we can fully realize the significance of this name to him. He attaches more importance to the name than the fame and fortune.
Freedom is the highest creed of Jack, and his most important redeeming trait that endears him to the audience. The principle of pirates is just the survival tool he borrows. But he gives the maximum play to the principle of pirates. That is, to break the principle. During the late 16th century, Fief Aners believes that there is a group of evil tendency from the sea: the sailing adventure life, the direction of astrology, and the alienation of women. It is the vast turbulent sea that makes people lose faith in God and the love for home. People fall into the hand of the devil and the trick of Satan (Gilchrist, 23).
These examples illustrate how Jack Sparrow is a classic anti-hero. He has some inherent goodness, and is sufficiently likeable because our society values those who are truly free. Yet he also has many inward and outward character traits of a villain. The anti-hero role is normally reserved for the flawed. Where a true hero might have a flaw that they can overcome, the anti-hero is more a tragic figure, someone who might never outrun their flaws.
Why does the pirate image that Hollywood shapes receive a warm welcome? A real life pirate is a criminal, someone who most would fear -- as did real people in the Caribbean during that era. It was also anything but glamorous -- for a group of people who pursued treasure even an apple would be a rare treat. But the Hollywood pirate like Jack Sparrow lives a life that our soul thirsts for. People who like him are those who do not have the courage to break the rules and sail alone. Madness is always accompanied by civilization. We have always suppressed our desires. The Sparrow character makes the audience question which one is the truly mad? We are too rational even when we are drunk. Reason can make the world order, but can reason bring us happiness? We think more rationally than emotionally. But it makes sense only when the reason returns to the emotional.
There is a counterpoint in here to be made, that Jack Sparrow is not an anti-hero but a complex villain. His profession is a villainous one, and his actions are often those of a villain. Sparrow is charming and charismatic, but many great villains are, and that's why they are so effective. The definition of a true villain, to our values, would include someone who you want to trust, but who cannot be trusted, and it would include someone who is egotistical and unreliable. That the writers and the actor have done a good job of making these traits seem credible in Sparrow, to the point where you want to cheer for him, does not make him any less a villain. Even in horror movies, the audience cheers for the murderer, because the character is who you cheer for, regardless of where they are aligned. In real life, it does not work this way, but Hollywood sells fantasy, and cheering for an insane, erratic, but free pirate is a cathartic exercise for an audience that knows perfectly well if it lived in the 17th century it would dread the likes of Jack Sparrow.
Others state that Jack Sparrow is a hero, not an anti-hero. But I think a true hero has the determination, confidence, wisdom, courage, and the pursuit for excellence, and the noble moral character that ordinary people long for. While Jack has the personality of both good and evil -- that ambiguous morality is the defining trait of an anti-hero. Jack is just not ideal enough to be a true hero, even if people want to see him in a positive light.
To some extent, the image of Jack Sparrow is the product of realism. Humanitarian, individualism and reformism are the basic values of realistic writers. Realistic writers expose social evils through ethical way. Or they put forward some social reform to solve the problem. They promote humanitarian ideals of freedom, equality, and fraternity to maintain human value and dignity. They are opposed to the oppression of money and materialistic desire and distortion of human nature. They advocate the human spirit. Fraternity thought is the distinctive characteristic of humanitarian of this period. Therefore, law of the jungle, intrigues, cynical are criticized while the bullied and vulnerable are sympathized. Most of the positive hero is the individual hero… [END OF PREVIEW]
Cite This Paper:
APA FormatJack Sparrow Anti-Hero. (2014, December 8). Retrieved March 22, 2017, from http://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/jack-sparrow-anti-hero/8165311
MLA Format"Jack Sparrow Anti-Hero." 8 December 2014. Web. 22 March 2017. <http://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/jack-sparrow-anti-hero/8165311>.
Chicago Format"Jack Sparrow Anti-Hero." Essaytown.com. December 8, 2014. Accessed March 22, 2017.