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Elizabeth Swann

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Pirates of the Caribbean Character
ElizabethSwann
Name: Elizabeth Swann
Portrayed by: Keira Knightley, Lucinda Dryzek
Ships used: HMS Dauntless, Black Pearl, HMS Interceptor, Edinburgh Trader, Hai Peng, Empress
Weapons: 2 Cutlasses, Pistol, Musket; on one occasion improvises with a bottle of rum
Gentlemen! Hoist the colours.
 
— Elizabeth Swann

Elizabeth Swann is a fictional character, and also one of the main characters, first introduced in the 2003 Disney film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. She also appears in the sequels, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007).

Elizabeth is the pirate-obsessed daughter of Weatherby Swann, the Governor of Port Royal in the Caribbean. Elizabeth is portrayed by actress Keira Knightley and the younger Elizabeth (seen in flashbacks) is played by Lucinda Dryzek. Knightley sums up her character as, "some kind of modern girl stuck in the world of the 18th century." Elizabeth has the capacity to act with the propriety and breeding of a noble lady. She seeks more independence than would normally be given to a woman of her rank during the 18th century. It is, however, an interesting fact that she and Captain Jack Sparrow both derive their surnames from birds (Swan and Sparrow).

Character history

Just as Will Turner and Barbossa may have been inspired by Monkey Island characters (Guybrush Threepwood and The Ghost Pirate LeChuck respectively), Elizabeth in turn may be inspired by Governor Elaine Marley from the same series. She is also said to be based on Princess Leia in the original Star Wars.

Abilities

In the time between The Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man's Chest Elizabeth learned how to handle a sword from her fiance, Will Turner, who is described as the best swordsman in the director's commentary of the first film. She defends herself against multiple opponents and even fights using two swords, though it's unlikely she could beat Barbossa or Norrington, who are described as the second best behind Will in terms of sword skills. During a fight scene in Dead Man's Chest, Keira Knightley uses a fighting sequence used by Legolas (another character portrayed by Orlando Bloom) in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Elizabeth has also shown an ability for battle strategy, devising many of the defensive and offensive maneuvers used against Barbossa as he pursued them in the Black Pearl.

Fictional Biography

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

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Young Elizabeth in the start of Curse of the Black Pearl

Ten-year-old Elizabeth Swann and her father, then Captain Weatherby Swann, were en route from England to Port Royal in the Caribbean when their ship came upon a wrecked vessel—the victim of a pirate attack. The only survivor was a young boy, Will Turner. When Elizabeth found a medallion around the unconscious Will's neck, she took and kept it, fearing he would be arrested as a pirate. Elizabeth then glimpses a ship with tattered black sails disappearing into the mist --- The Black Pearl.

Eight years pass. Elizabeth, now a beautiful young woman, is bored by her privileged, but restrictive, life and fantasizes about pirates and life at sea. Throughout the years, she has maintained a cordial friendship with Will Turner, unaware he secretly loves her. As a lowly blacksmith, Will harbors little hope of winning her. Commodore James Norrington, a good and honorable Royal Navy officer, also seeks Elizabeth's hand. He proposes marriage at his promotion ceremony, but she faints and falls off a rampart and into the bay before responding. Meanwhile, pirate Captain Jack Sparrow has arrived in Port Royal to commandeer a ship. While attempting to con the two marines guarding HMS Interceptor, he sees Elizabeth fall. He saves her, but his noble deed only results in being arrested and jailed for piracy. That night, the Black Pearl, a pirate ship commanded by Captain Barbossa, raids Port Royal. Elizabeth is abducted because she possesses a gold medallion; the same medallion she took from Will Turner when he was rescued. Using parley, Elizabeth negotiates with Barbossa to leave Port Royal in exchange for the coin. Barbossa agrees but keeps her captive when she fails to bargain her own release. Because she gave her last name as "Turner" to protect her identity, he believes it is her blood and the medallion that will break an ancient Aztec curse the pirates are under. He later reveals their true form that can only be seen in moonlight—they are immortal skeletons.

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Elizabeth's appearence in Curse of the Black Pearl

Will frees Sparrow from jail in exchange for him helping to rescue Elizabeth. He is unaware, however, that Jack is the Black Pearl's former captain; ten years ago, Jack's crew mutinied and marooned him after he shared the bearings to an ancient Aztec treasure. Sparrow and Will hijack HMS Interceptor and head for Tortuga to recruit a crew. Along the way, Jack tells an incredulous Will that his father is "Bootstrap Bill" Turner, the only Pearl crew member who opposed the mutiny. After Bootstrap sent a piece of the treasure to Will, he was tied to a cannon and thrown overboard. Only later did the crew learn they needed his blood to break the curse.

In Tortuga, Will overhears Jack telling Gibbs he plans to use Will as "leverage." They head for Isla de Muerta, knowing that is where Barbossa will go to break the curse. In hot pursuit is Commodore Norrington

aboard Dauntless.

On the island, Barbossa conducts a ritual using Elizabeth's blood and the medallion, but he becomes enraged when the curse remains in effect—Elizabeth is not Bootstrap's child. Meanwhile, Turner and Sparrow sneak into the cave. Will rescues Elizabeth, who grabs the coin, but distrusting the eccentric pirate, knocks out Sparrow. Believing Jack fell behind, Gibbs sets sail. Barbossa pursues them, and after a fierce battle, the Interceptor is sunk and the crew captured. Will reveals his identity. Unless the crew is released, he threatens to shoot himself while falling overboard, rendering him useless for breaking the curse. Barbossa complies, but because Will failed to specify when or where the release would happen, the crafty pirate maroons Sparrow and Elizabeth on a deserted island while throwing Will and the crew in the brig.

Discovering Jack is not the clever escape artist he is reputed to be, Elizabeth takes action and burns a cache of smuggler's rum to create a huge smoke signal that is spotted by Commodore Norrington. To save Will, Elizabeth convinces Norrington to attack Isla de Muerta by impulsively accepting his previous marriage proposal, telling him it would be her wedding present. She says nothing about the curse, however. At Isla de Muerta, Elizabeth slips away from the Dauntless and sneaks aboard the Black Pearl to free Gibbs and the crew from the brig. But they refuse to help save Will or Jack. Instead, they commandeer the Pearland set sail as a disgusted Elizabeth rows to the island alone. Inside the cave, Barbossa is about to sacrifice Will, but Jack interrupts the ritual, informing him that the Royal Navy is waiting outside. He persuades Barbossa to form an alliance. Will reviles Sparrow for his treachery, but Jack's true allegiance is unclear. When the pirates leave to battle the navy, Jack, who has secretly cursed himself by stealing a coin, attacks Barbossa, while Will and Elizabeth fight the remaining pirates. Jack and Will offer their blood and return the last two coins to the chest, breaking the curse just after Jack fatally shoots Barbossa. He reverts to mortal form and falls dead. The remaining now-mortal pirates surrender. Will, Elizabeth, and Jack are rescued, although Jack is later sentenced to be hanged for piracy. In Port Royal, Will saves Jack from the gallows, but they are quickly captured. However, when both Norrington and Governor Swann are reluctant to arrest Will or resume Jack's hanging, Elizabeth steps in to lend her support and declare her love for Will. Norrington releases Will and graciously concedes Elizabeth's hand. Jack, meanwhile, falls off the rampart and into the bay just as the Black Pearl sails into view. He is hauled aboard, captain once again. Good man that he is, Norrington allows the Black Pearl one day's head start before giving chase. (A deleted scene shows Norrington questioning Elizabeth's motive behind her sudden decision to accept his proposal.)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

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Elizabeth disguised as a man in Dead Man's Chest

It is Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner's wedding day, but Will is missing, and Elizabeth fears she has been jilted at the altar. Her fear quickly turns to terror as Lord Cutler Beckett and the British Navy arrive with Will shackled in irons. Beckett, a ruthless East India Trading Company agent, charges Elizabeth and Will for aiding Sparrow’s escape; the punishment is death. Former Commodore James Norrington is also implicated, although he has resigned from the Navy and disappeared. Beckett offers clemency if Will can find Jack Sparrow and his compass.

Will finds the Black Pearl crew on Pelegosto hiding from the Kraken, a voracious leviathan controlled by Davy Jones, the mythical captain of the Flying Dutchman and ruler of the seas. While Jones hunts Sparrow to collect a blood debt, Jack searches for the Dead Man's Chest containing Jones' beating heart. Whoever possesses the heart, controls Davy Jones and rules the oceans. Unfortunately, Jack’s magic compass fails.

Meanwhile, Governor Swann frees Elizabeth from jail. Having learned that Beckett is only pardoning Sparrow, Elizabeth boldly confronts him at gunpoint and demands he validate a Letter of Marque; a document intended to recruit Jack Sparrow as a privateer but which she wants for Will. Beckett signs it but says he still wants Sparrow's compass.

Disguised as a cabin boy, Elizabeth tricks a merchant crew into taking port in Tortuga. Searching for Will, she instead encounters Sparrow and Gibbs in a pub recruiting sailors to pay off Jack's debt to Davy Jones, who demands one hundred souls in exchange for Jack's. Another man applies—James Norrington, who is now a miserable, drunken wretch. Blaming Sparrow for his ruin, Norrington attempts to shoot him and ignites a brawl, but Elizabeth saves him by knocking him out. At the pier, she demands to know what has happened to Will. Jack tells her Will was pressed ganged into Davy Jones' crew, although he claims he is blameless. Norrington is skeptical, however. Jack convinces Elizabeth she can save Will by finding the Dead Man's Chest. Trusting Sparrow, she uses his magical compass and gets a bearing.

As the Black Pearl heads for Isla Cruces, Jack becomes amorous towards Elizabeth. Norrington observes her seemingly pleased reaction to Sparrow's attention, but she rejects his implication that she has romantic feelings for him. She becomes distressed, however, when the compass, which points to what the holder wants most in the world, points to Jack. Rebuffing his advances, she says she believes he is a good man and will one day do a courageous thing, but he brushes off her comments. Encouraged by her coyness, he attempts to kiss her, but the Black Spot, a mark that Jack's blood debt to Davy Jones is due, suddenly reappears on his hand, and he rushes off in a panic. Elizabeth mistakenly believes he is respecting her virtue, unaware the Kraken is hunting him again.

On Isla Cruces, Jack, Elizabeth, and Norrington find the Dead Man's Chest. Elizabeth is reunited with Will, who has escaped the Flying Dutchman with the key to the chest. A furious Elizabeth learns that Jack betrayed him. A conflict erupts: Will wants to stab the heart and kill Jones to free his father from Jones' servitude; Jack fears the Kraken will continue hunting him if Jones is dead; Norrington plots to bargain back his career. As a three-way duel erupts, Jones' crewmen arrive. Jack gets the key and opens the chest, but it is Norrington who escapes with the heart and the Letter of Marque.

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Will and Elizabeth in a Curse of the Black Pearl poster

Pursued by the Flying Dutchman, the Pearl outruns her. Davy Jones instead summons the Kraken, but the crew temporarily fight it off. Jack deserts the ship in the last longboat, but as Elizabeth predicted, he returns to save his crew. During the Kraken's momentary retreat, he orders all hands to abandon ship. Realizing the Kraken only wants Jack, Elizabeth distracts him with a passionate kiss while handcuffing him to the mast. She tells him she is "not sorry", but she is deeply affected by her deception. Climbing into the longboat, she tells the others Jack chose to remain behind, unaware Will witnessed what happened. The Kraken returns for its final assault; the Pearland Jack are dragged to a watery grave. It is during this final battle that Jack and Elizabeth's contrasting characters emerge: Jack shows heroism and loyalty by returning to the ship and saving his crew; by abandoning her duty and honor, Elizabeth becomes more pirate-like, using deception to sacrifice Jack to save herself and the others, although she is guilt-ridden over her actions. Norrington arrives in Port Royal and presents the heart and the Letter of Marque to Cutler Beckett. Meanwhile, Will, Elizabeth and the grieving crew make their way to Tia Dalma, the voodoo priestess who helped Jack find the Dead Man's Chest. As the crew drinks a somber toast to their fallen captain, Elizabeth silently agonizes over her betrayal. Believing Elizabeth now has feelings for Jack, Will comforts her. "If there was anything could be done to bring him back. . ." Tia Dalma interrupts, "Would you do it?....Would you brave the weird and haunted shores at World's End...To fetch back witty Jack?...And him precious Pearl?" All say, "Aye." Dalma says they will need a captain who knows those waters. Incredibly, a very alive Captain Barbossa descends the stairs.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

After escaping the Kraken, there is a gap in the timeline, but some time later Elizabeth journeys to Singapore with Captain Barbossa, Will and the Black Pearl crew in an attempt to rescue Jack Sparrow. They are after a special chart owned by the Pirate Lord Sao Feng. Feng captured Will Turner when he attempted to steal the chart, so Elizabeth and Barbossa mount a rescue, with the Pearl crew slipping in a mass of weapons for them.

However, things go awry and it's only due to the bad timing of members of the Black Guard that the pirates weren't cut down by their Chinese rivals.

Feng agrees to help, granting them a ship to travel to the World's End - where time and space no longer exist and they cross over to the other side. There, they find Sparrow, and set about trying to return.

When Jack is rescued, he refuses to crew with the Black Pearl, saying, "Why should I sail with any of you?! Four of you have tried to kill me in the past! One of you succeeded." (Referring to Elizabeth)

But, he soon realizes it is his only chance.

Tragedy soon follows, when Elizabeth's father Weatherby is spotted on his way to the other side - following his murder by the treacherous Cutler Beckett. Having already died, Elizabeth's attempts to save her father went unheeded and he accepted his fate.

Note, Sao Feng's bodyguard twins are seen on dinghies as well, although nobody dares interact with them

Arriving back in the real world, following a bit of brilliance by Sparrow - they suddently find themselves betrayed by Feng. He takes Elizabeth, believing she is Calypso, the Sea Goddess that Davy Jones once loved.

However, his ship falls under attack by The Flying Dutchman and Feng is mortally wounded. He names her captain and his position as Pirate Lord, hoping to be forgiven by Calypso.

After being taken prisoner, she manages to escape when James Norrington sacrifices himself to aid in her flight. The Empress sails to Shipwreck Cove. There, the Brethren Court convenes, but to declare war - a king must be named. All the pirates vote for themselves, but Sparrow votes for Elizabeth, making her King. She declares war on the EITC and prepares their ships for battle.

In the end, the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman duel in a massive maelstrom while the two crews fought to the death. During the battle, Will Turner asks for her hand in marriage and she accepts his proposal. They are wed on the deck of the Pearl, in mid-fight with Davy Jones' crew.

After Jones' is vanquished and Will is named captain of the Dutchman, the two consumate their wedding on a nearby beach. She bids him farewell, willing the wait the ten long years for him to return.

  • Note - In edited footage, it shows that she had a young son and the two await Turner's return on the 10th anniversary of his becoming captain.

Game Note

Capture3

Elizabeth and a pirate when they first meet.

Elizabeth can be found at her father's desk in the Governor's Mansion on Port Royal. Most of the time, she doesn't have time for the pirate. But, she does get the pirate their first ship.

And later, asks for help in obtaining the collection of the Nine Rogues paintings treasure. The player will also be summoned to see her to start the Dagger Unlock Quest.

Because Pirates of the Caribbean Online is set prior to the events of At World's End, it is assumed she and Will Turner aren't married.

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