Wednesday 17 July 2013

Who Shall be Captain?

This image is titled Who Shall be Captain? and it was drawn by Howard Pyle.I have discovered reading this book that the artist popularized the image of pirates in fiction and in popular culture. I don't think I ever was aware of his work in the past. I have decided this summer to learn more about real historical piracy. That said, I can't help but be drawn by the fiction, the rich imagery Pyle created. I love the drama in this picture, how the settings and the characters enhance it. We are witnessing a fight to the death, but it is in fact a combat for power. The treasure chest, on the bottom left, is not the focus of the conflict. These two men are ready to risk their life in order to become leaders of a bunch of cutthroats who would betray them at the nearest opportunity, if ever the new captain, whoever he is, shows any sign of weakness. It might be melodramatic and the characters are of course stereotypes, the scope is nevertheless epic.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

In any criminal organization, power means everything.

Mantan Calaveras said...

The pirates actually had relatively egalitarian social systems, compared to the states of their time period, or so I'm informed, which stands to reason. People living in tight quarters on board a ship with survival at stake, it's a bit harder to convince someone to contradict their best interests.

Oh, they were Templars you know. That's why they flew the jolly roger. It's Bahamut.

Guillaume said...

@Debra-You are right. Power is a stronger motivation than money.
@Mantan-Not sure if they had anything to do with Templars, people came to piracy from different parts of the world for various reasons, but they were certainly more egalittarian, from what I understood.