There are many seafaring men and women who have either starred on the big screen or leapt out of the pages of a book to give themselves legendary fame. Some of these characters were loosely based on fact or fable, and other were completely fictional, either way it is great to remind ourselves just who they were.
Captain Jack Sparrow
The Pirates of the Caribbean epic series of movies include three of the most expensive films that were ever made. The adventures of Jack Sparrow and his crew on-board the Black Pearl is one of the most successful film series ever produced by Walt Disney. Johnny Depp plays the foppish and frequently drunk Captain Sparrow to perfection as he faces more ridiculous and terrifying challenges as the stories unfold. The British Navy is often ridiculed as inept and largely very foolish as our hero searches for treasure and other marvelous swashbuckling feats.
Created by C.S Forester, Horatio Hornblower was a fictional Navy Captain fighting the French in the Napoleonic Wars. Blessed with the same christian name as Admiral Lord Nelson, it is easy to see where Forester got his inspiration from. The stories are terrific yearns about a young seaman who rises through the naval ranks due to his bravery and flagrant disregard to authority. It is this rebelliousness that endears Hornblower to the reader and gradually due to his epic deeds he achieves promotion after promotion to the pinnacle of the rank of Baron Hornblower.
Another literary giant created by Herman Melville, the character is deeply complex in the story of the doomed whaling ship the Pequod in the epic tale of Moby Dick. The biographer of the writer Herman Melville was quoted on saying about the character of deeply disturbed captain, a brilliant personification of the very essence of fanaticism.
As the story unfolds, the reader begins to understand Ahab’s compulsion, on a previous voyage the giant whale Moby Dick, bites off Ahab’s leg, leaving him with a garish reminder of a false leg made out of whale bone. The whaling mission of the Pequod is a voyage of revenge to find the whale and send it to damnation.
The J.M Barrie character of Captain Hook, is loosely based on Captain Ahab. Hook appears in the children’s novel and play Peter Pan about a boy who would not grow up. Hook is the devilish captain of the ship the Jolly Roger, who coincidentally also has lost a limb to a creature from the deep. This time a crocodile has bitten off his hand, and Hook has a prosthetic fish hook as a replacement. The adventures of the dastardly Captain Hook are integral to the whole story of the book as he is constantly pursued by the crocodile who likes the taste he has already had of the sea captain. The play casts Hook as rather a deep and dangerous character but the Walt Disney adaptation makes him far more comical.
These great fictional characters of the sea have made rip roaring stories, both literally and for the big screen. Because of the great mystery surrounding the large oceans and seas, stories connected with the waves are always loved. In part two of the most famous fictional sailors, we will be raising anchor once again to sail uncharted waters.