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 (played by Orlando Bloom).


Elizabeth is a spirited and independent-minded character. Throughout the three films, she transforms from a proper lady into a courageous pirate. Piracy and life at sea have always fascinated Elizabeth, but she is revolted by pirates' aggressive, wild nature, especially Captain Jack Sparrow, who made his escape from Port Royal at her expense. 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 fiancé, Will Turner. She was able to defend herself against multiple opponents and could fight with two swords simultaneously. Elizabeth has natural leadership abilities, learned seamanship quickly, and an innate talent for battle strategy, having devised defensive and offensive maneuvers against her opponents. She uses a Chinese Jian sword and is seen carrying a multitude of other weapons on her person including knives, firearms, and what appears to be a small bomb.


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. As a child she wears a blue dress in this style, and, eight years later, her father gives her a gold-colored gown to wear to Commodore Norrington's promotion ceremony. When she is forcibly taken aboard the Black Pearl in her robe and nightgown, 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. Elizabeth disguises herself as a cabin boy to join 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 dressed 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, and wears it during the parlay session with Cutler Beckett and Davy Jones, and during the maelstrom battle. 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.

Fictional biographyEdit

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black PearlEdit

Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: 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 mist—a 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 medallion—one 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.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's ChestEdit

Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: 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 Sparrow’s 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 and expanding the company's territory and increasing its profits while consolidating his own power and wealth. Beckett also apparently has a personal score to settle with Jack Sparrow.

As in the first film, Elizabeth's freedom is again dependent upon Will procuring Jack Sparrow's help. 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, Jack’s magic compass fails him, although it may be pointing to something else he wants as much, if not more, than the Dead Man's Chest.

When Elizabeth escapes jail and discovers Beckett is only pardoning Sparrow, she confronts Beckett at gunpoint, forcing him to validate a Letters of Marque to free Will. Disguised as a cabin boy, Elizabeth tricks a merchant crew into taking port in Tortuga. She jumps ship and 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, now 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 places her faith in Jack when he tells her 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. To save himself, Jack escapes in the only remaining longboat, prompting Elizabeth 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 Jack is the Kraken's sole 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 Sparrow 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 drink 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.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndEdit

Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: 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 a rescue mission, but they must first journey to Singapore to obtain a navigational chart leading to World's End, the gateway to the Locker. Each character has a self-serving motive for retrieving 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, the pirate lord of the South China Sea 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. When Lord Beckett's 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 believes she loves Jack. Reaching World's End, they sail over an enormous waterfall into Davy Jones' Locker. They find Jack and the Black Pearl, but he refuses to crew with them, claiming that four tried to kill him, and one (Elizabeth) succeeded. Only then does Will understand Elizabeth's despair. When Elizabeth tells that it was her burden to bear, he asks how can he 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; she 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. Elizabeth understands Will's desire to save his father but feels betrayed by his secret collaboration with Feng, further alienating her from Will. He laments 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. Mistaking Elizabeth for 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. He is overjoyed to find her safe, but she berates him for serving Beckett and implicates him 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, "Bootstrp" 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 wants to fight while the Brethren Court prefers secluding themselves inside the impenetrable Shipwreck Cove, although Sparrow warns that confinement will likely result in mass murder. The lords call for a vote to elect a pirate king, though, traditionally, they only vote for themselves. Knowing Elizabeth's desire to 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 upon 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 but is 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 EndEdit

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. [1] However, dialogue in the film and the World's End DVD pamphlet insert states that Will is forever bound to the Dutchman (but as it is not mentioned in the film what would happen to a captain if his lover was faithful to him, and the pamphlet insert was not written by the films' writers, it is better to believe that Will was allowed to return to Elizabeth and his son).

Character developmentEdit

According to actress Keira Knightley, Swann is "a 21st century girl trapped in an 18th century world. She . . . starts out as a damsel in distress and then kicks butt, so what's not to like?" While she appreciates her role, she was disappointed that her character did not carry a sword in The Black Pearl: "I didn't have a sword. Am I angry about that? Yes, very! ... I asked every single day, anyone I could ask, if I could have a sword but I didn't get one."[1] In the sequel Dead Man's Chest, she added that, "we went off into a grungier look for her. That was really exciting actually, to take the character and make her grow up... I think they really liked the more action-based side of Elizabeth from the first film and apparently that's what little girls really responded to, so they decided to take her off in that direction"[2]. She adds she was relieved to finally be able to brandish a sword, although according to Knightley, most of her swordfighting scenes were cut.[2] Knightley also stated how glad she was that by At World's End, she was finally able to shed the elaborate dresses and only wear pirate's clothing: "Actually I am really glad, it's so hot in there it is unbelievable, and everybody else has got their proper pirate stuff on and I am a little less dressed than everyone else and I am very glad, so that's good. The rest of the time I've got kind of the Pirate look instead of the corset and frilly dresses."[3]

Other appearancesEdit

Elizabeth Swann appears in the Pirates of the Caribbean world, Port Royal, of the Disney/Square Enix game Kingdom Hearts II, voiced by Eliza Schneider in the English version (like the other original actors, Keira Knightley was unavailable due to filming Dead Man's Chest) and by Saori Yumiba in the Japanese version. Schneider also performs the voice of Elizabeth Swann again in the video game Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow and in the video game adaptation of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The character also appears in Pirates of the Caribbean Online.

External linksEdit

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