There dynamic personalities of the many characters in Pirates of the Caribbean are a huge part of what made the movie so successful. Among those characters, there are some who contribute more to the plot by their actions and some who affect the other characters by their mere presence. Captain Barbosa and the Commodore have some obvious differences that divide them in the movie, but their similarities are much more important.
As a pair of comic alazons, Barbosa and the Commodore play an important role in providing basis for comparison against Captain Jack Sparrow and further complicate the love story in the movie. Captain Barbosa is interesting character in that his actions are often represented in an amateur light. It is important remember the introduction of Barbosa if one is to understand his character. It is important to note that he is originally Jack Sparrow’s first mate, which immediately relegates Barbosa to a subordinate and thus, amateur position.
He never really grows out of that and through the rest of the movie and there is never much indication that he is capable, either. One such example where this is evident occurs when Barbosa makes the mistake of thinking that Elizabeth is the daughter of Bootstrap Bill Turner. By attempting this important blood ritual using the wrong person, Barbosa shows just how much of an impostor he actually is. In addition to that, one of the primary characteristics of a comic alazon is their unique ability to get in the way of the primary love scene in the movie.
In this case, Barbosa’s constant meddling with Elizabeth, Jack, and William spurns a host of different love-filled possibilities in the film. Like Captain Barbosa, the Commodore is an interesting character who has a big role in the film. His primary role as impostor comes from his relationship with Elizabeth. He sets out to marry her and the film allows him to get very close, but ultimately she settles on Will Turner as her true love. This sets up the Commodore as something of a joke from the very beginning.
In addition, he can be seen as a comic alazon because of his failed methods in finding Elizabeth when she has been captured by Barbosa. It is interesting to note that the Commodore is completely against piracy, which is something of a strange idea considering how common it was during the movie’s time. It was almost as if he was on a mission to stop something that he had absolutely no ability to stop. The commodore is similar to Barbosa in many ways and the movie adeptly points this out. These two are similar in that they serve as a foil for Will Turner in his relationship with Elizabeth.
In addition, both are seen as something of jokes, and they are not taken seriously by the other characters even though the one thing they want more than anything is to be taken seriously. In a way, Jack Sparrow just toys with both the Commodore and with Barbosa and though he is always in reach of them, he manages to make them look foolish and escape at the same time. This is the one reason why they are important to the plot. The basic characteristics of the two characters make them very different simply based upon the fact that Barbosa is a pirate who is hurting Elizabeth, while the Commodore is against piracy and loves Barbosa.
Those things are purely superfluous to the story, though, as the more important theme has to be drawn both characters’ abilities to look foolish and completely inept at the same time. All in all, these characters are incredibly important to the story’s development. Though their differences are pronounced, their similarities are even more important. On both sides of the spectrum, they serve as something to laugh at and people for the main characters to constantly toy with for the entirety of the film.
Courtney from Study Moose
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