Cutler Beckett is the central antagonist of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He is a mentioned antagonist in The Curse of The Black Pearl, the secondary antagonist in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the main antagonist in Pirates of Caribbean: At World's End, a posthumous antagonist in On Stanger Tides, and Dead Men Tell No Tales respectively. He was granted the title of Lord at some point before assuming Port Royal as his base of operations. Once in the Caribbean, Lord Beckett made it his goal to remove piracy from the world forever. He sought the Dead Man's Chest to achieve his goals, and manipulated Will Turner and the Swann family in order to obtain it. This eventually lead to his acquiring of the heart of Davy Jones, and Jones' ship, the Flying Dutchman. From aboard his flagship, the HMS Endeavour, Beckett oversaw his war against piracy. With the Dutchman leading his armada, the pirates were systematically eliminated. Lord Beckett soon learned of a meeting of Pirate "Lords", and was able to track a pirate vessel, the Black Pearl, to Shipwreck Cove. This culminated in a final, decisive battle against the Brethren Court, in which Beckett was intent on eliminating the remaining pirates with one fell swoop.
"More acquaintance than friend, how do you know him?" "We've had dealings in the past…and we've each left our mark on the other." "And what mark did he leave on you?" ―Will Turner and Cutler Beckett, regarding Jack Sparrow.[src]
Years prior to his war on piracy, Beckett oversaw operations conducted by East India Trading Company member Jack Sparrow, who carried out a number of assignments aboard his merchant vessel, the Wicked Wench. However, when Sparrow refused to transport slaves from Africa to the Caribbean, Beckett ordered Sparrow's ship destroyed and Sparrow himself imprisoned.
Beckett's men set the Wench aflame and captured Sparrow. Beckett himself branded Jack as a pirate—burning a "P" symbol onto his right forearm—and had him incarcerated. Jack ultimately escaped, and at some point left his own mark on Beckett. Lordship "Cutler Beckett?" "It's Lord now, actually." "Lord or not, you have no reason and no authority to arrest this man." "Oh, in fact I do." ―Weatherby Swann and Cutler Beckett, concerning William Turner's arrest.[src]
Cutler Beckett and Mercer arriving at Port Royal.
Some time during his career with the East India Trading Company, Cutler Beckett had been both knighted and made a lord. By this time he has rose through the ranks of the Company and was made Governor of the Company by the Court of Directors. Lord Beckett quickly made use of his newfound power and status to act on his long-standing prejudice against pirates; and in order to remove piracy from the world forever, he knew, required the finding of the Dead Man's Chest.
Approximately a year after the incident at Isla de Muerta, Lord Beckett, arrived at Port Royal aboard the HMS Endeavour, bearing arrest warrants for William Turner, Elizabeth Swann and former Commodore James Norrington, all of whom had been implicit in the escape of Jack Sparrow from his execution at Fort Charles. Norrington had resigned his commission, after his failed attempt to capture Sparrow, but Beckett was able to have Elizabeth and William arrested.
Despite the objections of his old acquaintance, Governor Weatherby Swann, Beckett imprisoned Elizabeth, but struck a deal with Turner; Beckett wished to obtain Jack Sparrow's compass, with which he hoped to find the Dead Man's Chest, which contained the heart of Davy Jones. With the heart he would be able to assume control over Jones and the crew of the Flying Dutchman, and thus the Seven Seas. In return, Beckett promised to pardon Will and make Jack a privateer under the employ of the British crown, with the use of letters of Marque. Will agreed, and set off to locate Jack.
"No doubt you've discovered that loyalty is no longer the currency of the realm, as your father believes." "Then what is?" "…I'm afraid currency, is the currency of the realm." ―Cutler Beckett and Elizabeth Swann[src]
Some time later, Beckett was tipped off that Governor Swann was sending Elizabeth back to London. Realizing that Elizabeth was the only thing holding Will to their bargain, Beckett sent Mercer to kill the captain of the vessel that was to transport Elizabeth to England, and to ambush the governor. While this was going on, Beckett was confronted in his office by Elizabeth, who had snuck away from her father prior to the ambush, and stole the letters of Marque from Beckett's desk. Held at gunpoint Beckett was forced to sign and legitamize the letters for Elizabeth and watch her escape. He anticipated Elizabeth's movements, and sent Mercer to head her off at her most likely destination: the pirate port of Tortuga.
Shortly after Elizabeth left, Beckett's men captured a notorious French pirate, Capitaine Chevalle. Beckett had Chevalle tried and set him in stockades in the middle of Fort Charles. Before Chevalle's hanging could commence however, Jack Sparrow snuck into Port Royal to set him free. Sparrow sabotaged the hangman's rope, and then used a series of explosions to cover his and Chevalle's escape from the fort. Unable to recapture Chevalle or Sparrow, Beckett returned to his search for the Dead Man's Chest. Control of the seas "So you see Mercer, every man has a price he will willingly accept, even for that which he hopes never to sell." ―Cutler Beckett to Mercer, regarding Weatherby Swann[src]
Mercer later reported that Elizabeth had left Tortuga with Jack Sparrow on the Black Pearl, along with James Norrington. Beckett told Governor Swann––who had been imprisoned for his actions––that his armada would soon catch the Pearl and dispense justice. Swann, ignorant of the fact that the Black Pearl was almost uncatchable, accepted Beckett's demands for his loyalty to the Company, in return for Elizabeth's safety.
"If you are attempting to claim these, then you must have something to trade; do you have the compass?" "Better…the heart of Davy Jones." ―Cutler Beckett and James Norrington[src]
Ultimately, Lord Beckett received the contents of the Dead Man's Chest from James Norrington. Norrington had stolen Jack Sparrow's letters of Marque, who in turn, had taken them from Elizabeth. Seeking to regain his honour, Norrington fought for the heart of Davy Jones with Jack Sparrow and William Turner, and was able to escape from Isla Cruces, and was picked up by a Company ship. With both the letters and the heart, Beckett not only pardoned Norrington, but promoted him to the rank of admiral. With the heart of Davy Jones in his possession, Beckett was now one step closer to his goal of eradicating piracy from the seas forever. War against piracy"The Brethren know they face extinction. All that remains is for them to decide where they make their final stand." ―Cutler Beckett to Mercer.[src]
Cutler Beckett with his armada.
With the heart in his possession, Beckett employed Admiral James Norrington, and used Davy Jones to hunt down, capture and exterminate piracy from the Caribbean. During this period, in order to catch and execute pirates and their accomplices more quickly, Beckett declared marshal law as the "duly appointed representative of His majesty the King". He suspended many rights of ordinary citizens, including the right to a verdict of a jury of peers, the right to legal counsel, the right to gather in protest and several others. Using the authority of Governor Swann, Beckett oversaw the executions of thousands of people who he believed were even remotely associated with piracy, even children. During one execution, Beckett was able to get the crowd to sing the anthem of the Brethren Court––a clandestine association of notorious pirates––a sign he knew would force the Brethren to meet, at which time he could attack and eliminate them with one fell stroke.
As this war progressed, Beckett was intent on finding the crew of the Black Pearl. He apparently was able to have them tracked to Singapore, where Mercer led a detachment of Company troops to find the hideout of the infamous Chinese pirate, Sao Feng. Beckett had placed a spy in Sao Feng's organization, named Steng, who was able to lead Mercer to Feng's bath house. Mercer ambushed the pirates, but wasn't able to capture Feng, or the crew of the Pearl. Mercer reported that Steng had said that the pirates were gathering, and that nine Pirate Lords would be attending, including Jack Sparrow, who was being rescued by his crew from Davy Jones' Locker. Beckett still desired to know the significance of the nine pieces of eight, of which their spy knew very little. However, Mercer told Beckett of a secret deal he made with Sao Feng: Feng would capture the crew of the Pearl and Sparrow would be delivered to Beckett for interrogation, and in turn Feng would be given the Pearl, a clause Beckett had no intention of fulfilling."The Dutchman sails as its captain commands." "And its captain is to sail it as commanded. I thought you had learned that when I ordered you to kill your pet. This is no longer your world, Jones. The immaterial has become...immaterial." ―Davy Jones and Cutler Beckett[src]
Cutler Beckett with Mercer and Weatherby Swann onboard the Flying Dutchman.
With the Flying Dutchman under its command, the Company easily obliterated numerous pirate vessels. However, Beckett soon became irritated with Davy Jones' habit of leaving no survivors for him to interrogate. Beckett already forced Jones to beach the Kraken, so that it could not be used against him; now he would need to keep Davy Jones within an arm's reach. Beckett placed Admiral Norrington onboard the Dutchman with the Dead Man's Chest, with mini-cannons pointed at the chest at all times. With the chest in constant danger, Jones was forced to obey Beckett's commands to the letter. Soon after that, Beckett ordered Governor Swann to be murdered, fearing that he would soon figure out the significance of the chest, and pose a threat to his plans. However, Beckett attempted to keep the matter secret, and informed individuals such as Admiral Norrington, that the Governor had been "sent back to England". Betrayal and alliances"Curious…your friends appear to be quite desperate, Jack. Perhaps they no longer believe that a gathering of squabbling pirates can defeat the Flying Dutchman…and so despair leads to betrayal." ―Cutler Beckett to Jack Sparrow[src]
After the Pearl came back from the Locker, Sao Feng made true to his bargain, and captured the Pearl, through a deal he made with Will Turner. He then defaulted on his deal with Turner, in favor of his deal with Beckett. Beckett then intercepted Sao Feng and the Pearl in his flagship, the HMS Endeavour. Beckett tried to gain information from Sparrow, while interrogating him in his office, but Sparrow's inordinate terms reminded Beckett of Sparrow's compass, the use of which would render Sparrow unnecassary. Sparrow, however, pointed out that since Beckett wanted Sparrow dead more than anything in the world, Jack's compass would only lead to Sparrow. When Beckett suggested killing Sparrow to "cut out the middle man", Sparrow pointed out that if Beckett simply killed him, he would then find the meeting place of the Brethren Court, Shipwreck Cove, but he would have to blockade the island and spend countless resources in the process. Sparrow proposed that Beckett release him, so that he could lead Beckett to Shipwreck Cove, and draw the pirates out. Beckett agreed, but at that same moment, Sao Feng joined forces with Hector Barbossa––after learning that he would not be receiving the Pearl after all––and attacked the Endeavour. Sparrow ran out of Beckett's office and cleverly used a cannon and a rope to get back onto the Pearl. Beckett ordered Jones to persue Sao Feng's ship, the Empress, so that the Endeavour could follow the Pearl. The Endeavour was unable to pursue the Pearl at first, however, due to the fact that during his escape, Jack Sparrow had disabled the main mast of the Endeavour, crippling the vessel for several hours."Jack Sparrow has sailed the Black Pearl to Shipwreck Cove." "And with you no longer aboard her, how do you intend to lead us there?" "[holds up Jack's compass] What is it, that you want most?" ―Will Turner and Cutler Beckett[src]
When repairs had been made, the Endeavour headed off in the general direction of the Pearl, hoping to catch up to Sparrow. Interestingly enough, a trail of bodies tied to barrels was leading them closer to the Pearl. One night, a barrel had a living body on top of it. When pulled to the deck, Beckett came face to face with the man who had made the trail of bodies in the first place, William Turner. Will had apparently been thrown overboard by Sparrow, and had come to treat with Beckett. As he had tea with Will, Davy Jones was summoned. Jones was upset with Beckett for not telling him that Sparrow had been freed from the Locker and suspected that he was hiding other information from him as well. Beckett ignored Jones' suspicions, and instead questioned Jones about Calypso, the goddess of the sea, according to nautical legend. Beckett had been told that the pirates possessed Calypso, and he wanted to see if Jones knew anything about her, knowing that, as Jones had sailed the seas for hundreds of years, he would know doubt have heard the "legend". Beckett was surprised to find that Jones himself had made a deal with the original Brethren Court to bind Calypso in human form. Will told them that the current Brethren Court intended to release her, and offered to lead Beckett and Jones to Shipwreck Cove, all in return for his father's freedom and the guarantee of his and Elizabeth's safety. Beckett agreed, and Will gave Beckett Jack's compass, which was able to lead him to Shipwreck Cove.
Prior to his arrival at Shipwreck Island, Beckett sent a small force of Company soldiers, under the command of his elite Black Coat soldiers, to attack the Pirate Lords in Shipwreck City. Inevitably, the small contingent of Company troops was defeated, but Beckett had only meant to delay the pirates from escaping, while he organized his armada against them. Parlay with the Pirates"Advise your Brethren: you can fight, and all of you will die, or you can not fight, in which case only most of you will die." ―Cutler Beckett to King Elizabeth Swann.[src]
True to his word, Sparrow had indeed led the Brethren out of their fortress, and offshore of Shipwreck Island, Beckett's armada came face to face with the fleet of the Brethren Court. The pirates were outnumbered ten to one, and Beckett was as confident as ever of his victory. He rowed over to a sandbar in between the two fleets, along with Davy Jones and Will. The three men waited for the arrival of the Court's ambassadors. Finally, Elizabeth Swann, Hector Barbossa and Jack Sparrow strode up the sandbar to them. Beckett told them that they could either surrender or fight, and in the latter case they would all die. Elizabeth rebuked Beckett, and seemed confident in the capabilities of her own small fleet. Although Will told Elizabeth he was the one who had lead Beckett to Shipwreck Cove, Beckett was convinced that Sparrow was really behind it all. Beckett revealed to the pirates the deal he had made with Jack, and tried unsuccessfully to get him to confess. Nevertheless, Elizabeth offered to trade Jack for Will, to which Beckett happily agreed. Beckett rowed back to the Endeavour, and ordered his men to ready the fleet."The enemy has opted for oblivion…ready the fleet." ―Cutler Beckett[src]
As preperations were being made for the battle, an odd wind began to blow in the favorable direction of the pirate fleet, and the skies darkened and rain began to fall. As lightning struck the surface of the water in front of Beckett's fleet, a collosal maelstrom began to form. Beckett saw that the Pearl was heading towards the maelstrom, and ordered the Dutchman to do the same, signaling it to attack the Pearl and to give no quarter. End of the armada"It's just…good business." ―Cutler Beckett[src]
Lord Beckett during the destruction of the HMS Endeavour.
Following the end of the battle of the maelstrom, and the apparent sinking of the Flying Dutchman, the Black Pearl emerged victorious from the massive whirlpool. Beckett commanded the Endeavour to finish the Pearl off, disregarding his deal with Sparrow. However, as he closed in on the Pearl, the Flying Dutchman reemerged from the depths. Beckett did not know that Will Turner had stabbed the heart of Davy Jones, and had taken his place as captain of the Dutchman. As the Pearl and the Dutchman rounded about and closed in on the Endeavour, Beckett was paralyzed with a mixture of fear, shock, doubt, and indecision, unable to give his men a single order. The Pearl and the Dutchman flanked the Endeavour on both sides, and fired a full broadside. Beckett still did not give an order and Lieutenant Groves ordered the crew to abandon ship. Beckett, completely defeated and utterly helpless, walked calmly down the staircase from the helm to the quarterdeck of the Endeavour as the ship was being obliterated all around him. Oddly enough, as he walked towards the center of his ship, not a single piece of metal or wood hit him. But finally, Beckett's life came to an end when the constant barrage of fire from the two ships ignited the Endeavour's powder magazine, sending his ship up in flames. His helpless body was blown overboard and landed atop a floating East India Trading Company flag. Beckett's reign of terror had ended. Equipment and traits"Our ships are in pursuit, and justice will be dispensed by cannonade and cutlass, and all manner of remorseless pieces of metal." ―Cutler Beckett to Weatherby Swann[src]
Beckett possessed a number of various outfits. Most were dark colored, perhaps reflecting his sinister goals. All of them were elegant, however, and as Beckett valued personal wealth and beauty, he wore them to show others his high status and wealth. He always wore tall black boots and a powdered wig, giving him an air of authority. Beckett also wore a bicorne hat and, occasionally, an Inverness cape when outside, especially in rainy weather. Cutler Beckett arrives in Port Royal on his horse.
Beckett owned and used a variety of items and weapons during his service in the East India Trading Company. Perhaps most impressive of all, was the world map he had painted in his Port Royal office. A cartographer was employed to make daily changes to the map as ships returned bringing reports of the Company's growing power and influence. Beckett also maintained a large globe in his cabin aboard the HMS Endeavour. Also aboard, were various nautical instruments and toy ships that eerily resembled torture devices, perhaps reflecting the type of control Beckett planned to exert over the world. Beckett also possessed a silver-topped walking stick which he used sparingly, but nevertheless used it to emphasize his status. Interestingly enough, Beckett also owned a horse, which he rode into Port Royal upon his arrival in the Caribbean.
Beckett made many enemies during his rise to power, and took to carrying a pistol at all times. This short-barelled weapon was kept in a specially-made pocket in the lining of his frock coat. He also owned a cutlass and took possession of James Norrington's sword upon taking control of Port Royal. Despite the fact that Beckett rarely carryed his cutlass with him, Beckett was nevertheless highly trained in swordplay, and considered himself a very competant duelist. Beckett holding a pirate brand.
During his campaign to eradicate piracy, Beckett made use of a pirate brand. This branding iron was tipped with a "P", which was pressed, boiling hot, onto the forearm of captured pirates, leaving them permanently scarred. Beckett kept this brand in his office. Upon journeying to the Caribbean, Beckett brought with him Letters of Marque, signed by the King himself, intending to use them in his plan to assume control of the Dead Man's Chest. The chance to become a privateer was offered to Jack Sparrow, though the letters were ultimately signed and claimed by James Norrington, in exchange for the heart of Davy Jones.
Beckett never specifically stated his reasons for wanted to destroy all pirates, though him once making a comment of things being "good business" seems to imply that his reasons are completely selfish.
Beckett was an intelligent, persistent, and ruthless man, who would stop at nothing to further his own personal goals. He felt no remorse for the deaths he caused, as he showed when he sent hundreds of possibly innocent people, who he believed to be associated with piracy, to the gallows, even children. He utilized his assistant, Mercer, to the fullest of his abilities, using him as both an assassin and spy. Beckett was adept at twisting the law for his own aims, using arrest warrants and pardons to manipulate Elizabeth Swann, Will Turner, and James Norrington to find the Dead Man's Chest. Beckett viewed others as tools, and showed blatant disregard for the lives of others around him. He was also quite unconcerned with dangerous, even life-threatening situations, remaining calm during an attack on the Endeavour, as cannonballs streaked past him. Even prior to his death, he remained calm, for the most part, as his ship was helplessly obliterated all around him.
Perhaps Beckett's most uncharacteristic attribute was his seeming infatuation with Elizabeth Swann. Perhaps, like the pirate Sao Feng, Beckett was intrigued by her outgoing and assertive personality, contrary to the reserved personalities of most women at the time. Ultimately, however, his feelings for Elizabeth, or lack there of, had no bearing on his decisions to attack the Black Pearl and the fleet of the Brethren Court; although, at one point he did half-heartedly try to coax Jack Sparrow into giving Elizabeth over to him. Nevertheless, Beckett remorselessly had Elizabeth's father murdered, and seemed unfazed when she confronted him about it. Beckett also had no qualms with revoking on deals with those he did business with, disregarding secret agreements he made with a range of people, including Weatherby Swann, Will Turner, Sao Feng and Jack Sparrow. Despite his familiarity with betrayal, or perhaps because of it, Beckett paid those who betrayed him in kind, and rewarded those who served him faithfully.