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Swashbuckler

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > Classic story types > Swashbuckler

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Pirate stories typically tell of a of the exploits of a handsome pirate captain who sails at the edge or outside the law. The crew is variously pleasant or not and mutiny is often not far away. Battles with other ships, however, keep them busy as they either take on ships with valuable cargo or fighting ships such as a pursuing navy vessel. They may also battle with 'enemy' ships, such as other pirates or Spanish ships, and may overrun coastal towns.

There is often a love interest in the form of a woman captured or otherwise found aboard. Initially resistant, the captain's bravery and chivalry soon wins heart.

Overall plots may be about hidden treasure, defeating an enemy or escape from pursuit.

Example

Pirate of the Caribbean
Treasure Island
Captain Blood

Discussion

Pirates in practice were lawless and often vicious killers, yet pirate stories often portray them in a romantic light, particularly the captain who is usually the main hero figure.

Chases and battle scenes give opportunity for excitement as do rough on-board conflict. Spiced with treasure, love and lawlessness, the pirate story has all the ingredients of an exciting story.

We may well envy the pirate captain who lives outside the constraints of the law yet is the law in the isolated world of his ship. His bold exploits soon win our hearts as well as that of the maiden, who initial horror and subsequent adoration leads us to sympathy for the pirates' plight. This is encouraged by relatively unsympathetic authorities and positively vile enemies, all of whom make the pirates look positively virtuous.

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