Elizabeth Swann
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Elizabeth Swann (later Elizabeth Turner) is a fictional character in the Walt Disney Pictures Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. She appears in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) and its two sequels, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (2007). Elizabeth is portrayed by Keira Knightley, and as a child by Lucinda Dryzek in the movie's prologue. She is known to use the alias "Elizabeth Turner," but this later becomes her married name when she weds the character, Will Turner.

The Curse Of The Black Pearl

Throughout the trilogy, Elizabeth Swann is portrayed as a spirited, intelligent, and independent-minded character who often chafes at the restrictions her social rank and gender impose upon her. Early on in the first movie she is portrayed as someone who often fantasizes about pirates and life at sea. This fantasy may have been fueled somewhat by her association with another character, Will Turner, who eleven-year-old Elizabeth met when she and her father, Governor Weatherby Swann were en route to Port Royal eight years earlier. Will, also about eleven, was found adrift at sea, the sole survivor of a pirate attack. During his rescue, Elizabeth briefly glimpsed a mysterious ship slipping into the mista vessel that foreshadowed her destiny.

The story continues eight years later, and Elizabeth is now a marriageable age; but in an era when matrimony is still a common means to forge strategic political alliances and advantageous social connections rather than happily-ever-after unions, she is expected to wed a respectable and prosperous man equal or superior to her in rank. Elizabeth prefers to marry for love, however, and it appears that she secretly harbors feelings for Will Turner. But Will, who is now a common blacksmith, is an unsuitable match for such a well-born lady. And though Will loves Elizabeth, he knows his place and keeps his feelings deeply hidden. Governor Swann, meanwhile, desires that his daughter marry Commodore James Norrington, a respected Royal Navy officer who Elizabeth admires but does not love. Ironically, it is Norrington who sets events into motion that not only alter Elizabeth's fate, but also his own and Will's. During Norrington's marriage proposal, Elizabeth faints and falls off a rampart and into the bay. Her unlikely rescuer, and the catalyst for her transformation from a demure lady to a daring pirate (and later, pirate captain and pirate king), is the notorious Captain Jack Sparrow, newly arrived in Port Royal to commandeer a ship. Despite Sparrow's gallant actions and against Elizabeth's protests, he is promptly jailed for piracy and sentenced to hang. That night, a pirate ship, the Black Pearl, raids Port Royal. It is the same ship Elizabeth spied eight years before. She is kidnapped because she possesses a gold medallionone that she took from Will after his rescue, fearing it would mark him as a pirate. Invoking parley, Elizabeth negotiates with Captain Barbossa to leave Port Royal in exchange for the coin. He agrees but keeps her captive on a technicality after she identifies herself as Elizabeth "Turner", mistakenly believing it is her blood that can break an ancient Aztec curse the pirates are under. Their true forms immortal skeletons can only be seen in moonlight.

It is Will's love for Elizabeth that motivates his actions and helps drive the story; he will do anything to save her, including piracy. And though the peaceful and law-abiding Will despises pirates and distrusts Sparrow, he frees him, knowing that only Sparrow can locate Isla de Muerta, the secret island where Elizabeth is being held. Will is unaware, however, that Jack Sparrow is the Black Pearl's former captain or that he has an ulterior motive for helping him: Turner blood and the gold medallion can break the Aztec curse; Sparrow intends to bargain Will to Barbossa in exchange for the Black Pearl.

When Will and Elizabeth escape Isla de Muerta without Sparrow, Barbossa pursues and captures their ship, sinking it. Will and the crew are thrown in the Pearl's brig, while Elizabeth and Sparrow are marooned on a deserted island. Elizabeth's feisty, self-sufficient nature propels her into taking action for her and Jack's rescue by burning a cache of smugglers' rum. The towering smoke is spotted by Commodore Norrington aboard Dauntless. To rescue Will, Elizabeth convinces Norrington to attack Isla de Muerta by impulsively accepting his previous marriage proposal. The commodore doubts her sincerity, although Elizabeth apparently intends to honor her promise, sacrificing her own happiness if it will save Will. She says nothing to Norrington about the curse while Sparrow provides the bearings to Isla de Muerta, setting his own plan into motion.

At Isla de Muerta, Elizabeth frees Jack's crew from the Pearl's brig, naively believing they will rescue Will and Sparrow. Abiding by the pirate code that "any man who falls behind, is left behind," they instead commandeer the Black Pearl and set sail, leaving a disgusted Elizabeth to row to the island alone. As the navy battles the pirates, Sparrow duels Barbossa inside the treasure cave, while Elizabeth joins Will to fight the remaining cursed crew. Sparrow fatally shoots Barbossa, who, upon reverting to mortal form as the curse is lifted, falls dead. The surviving now-mortal pirates surrender. Will, Elizabeth, and Sparrow are rescued, although Sparrow is later condemned to hang.

In Port Royal, Elizabeth attends Jack's execution. Will, who has been pardoned, approaches and proclaims his love for her before rescuing Sparrow from the gallows. They are quickly captured, but Norrington and Governor Swann are now reluctant to arrest Will or resume Sparrow's execution. Elizabeth intervenes and declares her love for Will. Norrington releases Will and concedes Elizabeth's hand to him. Sparrow, meanwhile, falls off the rampart and into the bay just as the Black Pearl sails into view. He is hauled aboard, captain once again. Apparently impressed by the wily pirate, Norrington allows the Black Pearl one day's head start before giving chase.

Dead Man's Chest:

Elizabeth is next seen just before her and Will's wedding ceremony. Lord Cutler Beckett and the British Navy arrive with Will shackled in irons. Elizabeth and Will are charged with aiding Sparrows escape; the punishment is death. Former Commodore James Norrington is also implicated, although he has since resigned his commission and disappeared. Beckett offers clemency if Will agrees to search for Jack Sparrow and bring back his compass. Beckett, a ruthless East India Trading Company agent, is extending the company's monopolistic stronghold over the entire Caribbean. Honest merchants and traders are forced to pay exorbitant fees and surcharges to ply their goods in EITC-controlled ports, an action amounting to little more than legal piracy. With Jack's compass, Becket can eradicate all pirates, thus securing the company's territory and increasing its profits while consolidating his own power and wealth. Beckett apparently has a personal score to settle with Jack Sparrow.

As in the first film, Elizabeth's freedom is again dependent on Will procuring Jack Sparrow's help. After a frantic search, Will locates Jack and 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. Jones is hunting Sparrow to collect a blood debt, while Jack has been searching for the Dead Man's Chest containing Jones' beating heart. Whoever possesses the heart, controls Davy Jones and the oceans. Unfortunately, Jacks magic compass fails him, although it is actually pointing to something he may want as much, if not more, than the Dead Man's Chest.

Elizabeth escapes jail and discovers that Beckett is only pardoning Sparrow. In a desperate bid to save Will rather than herself, she confronts Beckett at gunpoint, forcing him to validate a Letters of Marque that can free Will. Disguised as a cabin boy, Elizabeth tricks a merchant crew into taking port in Tortuga, where she jumps ship. 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 has become a disgraced, drunken wretch. Blaming Sparrow for his ruin, Norrington attempts to shoot him, igniting a brawl, but Elizabeth knocks him out to save him. At the pier, Jack claims Will was press ganged into Davy Jones' crew, insisting he was blameless; Norrington is skeptical, but Elizabeth puts her faith in Jack when he tell her that she can save Will by finding the Dead Man's Chest. Using his magical compass, she gets a bearing.

On Isla Cruces, Jack, Elizabeth, and Norrington find the Dead Man's Chest. When Will arrives with the key he stole from Davy Jones, Elizabeth learns that Jack tricked Will onto the Dutchman. A conflict emerges: Will wants to kill Jones by stabbing the heart to free his father from Jones' servitude; Jack fears the Kraken will continue hunting him if Jones is dead; Norrington plots to barter 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 ultimately escapes with the heart and the Letters of Marque.

Pursued by the Flying Dutchman, the Pearl outruns her. Undeterred, Jones summons the Kraken, but the crew temporarily fight it off. Elizabeth discovers that Jack has escaped the ship in the only remaining longboat to save himself, prompting her to brand him a coward. But as Elizabeth once predicted, Jack, unable to desert his crew, heroically returns to rescue them, reaffirming her faith. During the wounded Kraken's brief retreat, Jack orders all hands to abandon ship. Realizing that only Jack is the Kraken's target, Elizabeth distracts him with a passionate kiss while handcuffing him to the mast. Although she claims she has no regrets, her overwhelming guilt belies her true feelings. She tells the others Jack stayed behind to aid their escape, unaware Will witnessed their encounter. The Kraken returns for its final assault, dragging the Pearl and Jack to the Locker. It is during this final battle that Jack's and Elizabeth's contrasting, yet also similar, underlying characters emerge: Jack shows heroism and loyalty by returning to the ship to save his crew; Elizabeth becomes more pirate-like, employing deception to sacrifice Jack to save herself and the crew. Even Jack acknowledges this when, immediately following her duplicity, he calls her "pirate" in an almost admiring tone, as if praising her clever deceit and heralding her passage into his realm.

Norrington arrives in Port Royal and presents the heart and the Letters of Marque to Cutler Beckett in a bid to reclaim his commission. 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, racked with guilt, silently agonizes over her deception. Believing that Elizabeth loves Jack, a despondent Will comforts her, prompting Tia Dalma to ask if they would all be willing to rescue Jack and the Pearl from Davy Jones' Locker. When all say "aye," Dalma says they will need a captain who knows those waters. Incredibly, a very alive Captain Barbossa descends the stairs.

At World's End:

Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa, and seven other pirate lords have been summoned to a Brethren Court at Shipwreck Island to address Lord Beckett's assault on piracy. Jack, lacking a successor, must attend, but he is eternally imprisoned aboard the Black Pearl in Davy Jones' Locker. Elizabeth joins Will, Barbossa, Tia Dalma, and Sparrow's crew on the rescue mission, but they must first journey to Singapore to obtain a navigational chart belonging to Sao Feng, the pirate lord of the South China Sea. The chart leads to World's End, the gateway to the Locker. It is apparent that each character has a self-serving motive for wanting to retrieve Jack, and, to succeed, they must maintain an uneasy alliance despite distrusting one another. For Elizabeth, it is an opportunity to alleviate her guilt for having sacrificed Jack to the Kraken to spare herself and the crew.

Sao Feng agrees to hand over the chart and provide a ship and crew. But unknown to Elizabeth, Feng does so only after negotiating a secret deal with Will: Jack Sparrow in exchange for the Black Pearl. However, they are overheard by Lord Beckett's agent, Mr. Mercer, whose men attack the bathhouse. The crew escapes and sets sail for World's End. During the voyage, Elizabeth's lingering anguish over causing Jack's demise torments her, and she avoids Will, who still believes she loves Jack. Reaching World's End, they sail over an enormous waterfall into Davy Jones' Locker. Their ship is destroyed, but they survive and find Jack and the Black Pearl. He refuses to crew with them, however, claiming that four tried to kill him, and one (Elizabeth) succeeded. Only then does Will understand her despair. When Elizabeth claims later that it was her burden to bear, Will asks how he can trust her if she makes her choices alone. Elizabeth responds that he cannot, leaving their future together uncertain.

As Jack and Barbossa squabble over who is the Black Pearl's captain, the crew navigate their way back to the living world. Before escaping the Locker, Elizabeth sees her father's soul being ferried to the "next world," murdered by Cutler Beckett. Distraught that she is unable to retrieve him, Elizabeth vows to avenge his death.

After returning to the living world, Will's clandestine bargain with Sao Feng is exposed. But Feng has already double-crossed Will for another deal with Beckett. And though Elizabeth understands Will's desire to save his father, she feels betrayed that he secretly collaborated with Feng. Will's deception further alienates Elizabeth, causing Will to lament later, "I'm losing her, Jack." When Feng demands Elizabeth in exchange for the Pearl, she agrees in order to protect the crew. Soon after, Feng is fatally wounded when Davy Jones attacks his ship, the Empress. Mistakenly believing that Elizabeth is the sea goddess Calypso bound in human form, the dying Feng names her captain and Pirate Lord of the South China Sea. Elizabeth and her new crew are taken prisoner aboard the Flying Dutchman where she is reunited with Admiral James Norrington. Although he is overjoyed to find her safe, she berates him for serving Beckett and accuses him of complicity in her father's death; a shocked Norrington denies any involvement and later frees Elizabeth and her crew from the brig. As they escape to the towed Empress, "Bootstrap" Bill Turner, whose mind has been unhinged by Jones' cruel imprisonment, fatally stabs Norrington.

The Black Pearl and the Empress head to Shipwreck Island for the Brethren Court. The pirate lords dispute how to oppose Beckett and the East India Trading Company; Elizabeth favors going into battle while the Brethren Court prefers to seclude themselves inside the impenetrable Shipwreck Cove, although Sparrow speculates that their confinement will result in everyone killing each other. The lords call for a vote to elect a pirate king, but, traditionally, they will only vote for themselves. Knowing Elizabeth will declare war, Jack breaks the stalemate by casting his ballot for her, although he has an ulterior motive. "King" Elizabeth orders all pirates to prepare for battle. During a parley session with Beckett and Jones, Elizabeth tells the captive Will that having been aboard the Dutchman she now understands the burden he bears, but she fears that course (saving his father) is lost, although Will disagrees. Jack is then exchanged for Will.

Whether Elizabeth's decision to declare war is brilliant or rash, her actions reflect her daring and bravery. As Beckett's massive fleet looms on the horizon, Elizabeth, refusing to surrender or retreat, delivers a rousing speech before giving the order to hoist the colors. During the climatic sea battle, Will proposes to Elizabeth, claiming it may be their only chance to wed; Elizabeth tells Captain Barbossa to marry them amidst the fighting. As the Pearl and the Dutchman clash, Elizabeth and Will board Jones' ship. When Elizabeth attacks Jones, Will comes to her aide, only to be mortally wounded by Jones. As Will lies dying, Jack relinquishes his bid for immortality to instead save Will, guiding his hand to stab Jones' heart, killing him. "Bootstrap" Bill, who has regained his senses, carves out Will's heart and places it in the Dead Man's Chest. Jack forces the grief-stricken Elizabeth to escape the ship with him as the Dutchman is sucked into the massive whirlpool. The ship quickly resurfaces with the resurrected Captain Will Turner at the helm and the crew restored to human form. With the Flying Dutchman now their ally, the pirates destroy Cutler Beckett's flag ship, killing him, and causing the navy to retreat.

Elizabeth and Will reunite for their "one day" on an island where their marriage is consummated. Before returning to the Flying Dutchman at sunset for his ten years in the Netherworld, Will gives Elizabeth the Dead Man's Chest containing his beating heart for safekeeping.

After World's End:

Following the film's end-credits, an Easter egg scene set ten years later shows Elizabeth and her son atop a cliff looking out to sea. A green flash fills the sky and the fully-restored Flying Dutchman appears on the horizon with Captain Will Turner aboard, heading landward.

Disney has created confusion and an on-going controversy regarding Will's eventual fate. According to POTC writer Terry Rossio in the DVD commentary, Will could be free from his Dutchman duties and can return to his family if Elizabeth remained faithful to him. However, dialogue in the film and the World's End DVD pamphlet insert states that Will is forever bound to the Dutchman. However, as the DVD commentary should be the more reliable source, it is assumed that Will can return home from the Flying Dutchman after 10 years if he chooses.


Elizabeth is a spirited and independent-minded character. Throughout the three films, she changes from a proper lady into a courageous pirate. Elizabeth has always been fascinated by piracy and life at sea, but she is revolted by pirates' aggressive, wild nature, and especially when she meets Captain Jack Sparrow, who made his escape from Port Royal at her expense. But even after becoming a pirate, Elizabeth retains her sense of propriety, as well as her loyalty and compassion for loved ones (including Will Turner, her father, and later, Jack Sparrow).

Elizabeth adapted easily to piracy, for instance learning swordsmanship from her fianc, Will Turner. She was able to defend herself against multiple opponents and could fight with two swords simultaneously. Elizabeth has natural leadership abilities, excellent seamanship, and an innate talent for battle strategy, having devised defensive and offensive maneuvers against her opponents. It should be noted that she is the only main character in the film to use a Chinese Jian as her weapon of choice.


Having been raised in upper-class society as a governor's daughter, the beautiful Elizabeth Swann is a refined and elegantly-coutoured young lady. Throughout Pirates Of The Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl, she wears a dress style known as a sack-back gown, popular during the 18th century. While sailing en route to Port Royal with her father, an eleven-year-old Elizabeth is dressed in a blue, child-version of this fashion. Just before Commodore Norrington's promotion ceremony eight years later, Governor Swann presents Elizabeth with a new gold-colored dress, explaining, "I'm told it's the latest fashion in London." Elizabeth thinks it is beautiful, but her tight, uncomfortable pink corset severely affects her breathing, later causing her to faint and nearly drown when she falls into the bay. Although Governor Swann intended for his gift to make Elizabeth as fetching as possible to Norrington, who he intends for her to marry, the restrictive clothing also represents his paternal authority, her loyalty to him, and the repressive society in which Elizabeth lives. Elizabeth's sleepwear includes a full-length white negligee and a long, light-weight, cream-colored robe with a small floral-print design. She is wearing both when she is forcibly taken aboard the Black Pearl. Captain Barbossa later provides Elizabeth a red tea gown that previously belonged to another lady, although she is forced to return it just before she is marooned on a deserted island, clad only in a long white chemise. After being rescued by Commodore Norrington, Elizabeth is loaned a Royal Navy officer's uniform, the first time she is seen wearing men's attire. At Jack Sparrow's execution, she is once again attired in a fashionable garment and hat.

In Pirates Of The Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest, as Elizabeth's character and circumstances change, so does her wardrobe. She first appears in an elegant wedding dress and a long veil. To escape Lord Beckett, she disguises herself as a cabin boy, and joins a merchant ship and wears this garb throughout the film. Exposure to the sun tans her skin and lightens her hair.

In Pirates Of The Caribbean - At World's End, Elizabeth first appears in Chinese peasant clothing and a coolie hat while paddling a small boat through Singapore's waters. She is forced to change into a short silk robe upon entering Sao Feng's bathhouse. Before being presented to Sao Feng aboard his ship, the Empress, the captive Elizabeth has been alluringly dressed by Feng's servants in a long, pink cheongsam, a sleeveless, full-length blue overcoat (both probably silk), and a studded turquoise headdress. She later dons Chinese armour for the Brethren Court, the parlay session with Cutler Beckett and Davy Jones, and during the maelstrom battle. During her "one day" on the island with Will, she wears a black, calf-length tunic with mid-thigh, side slits, part of the Chinese battle ensemble she still had on when she debarked the Black Pearl for the island. In the Easter Egg scene set ten years later, she is clothed in a long, dark woolen skirt and a double-breasted brocade waistcoat over a white, puffy-sleeved shirt, probably cotton or linen.ss

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