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Curious. Your friends appear to be quite desperate, Jack. Perhaps they no longer believe that a gathering of squabbling pirates can defeat the Flying Dutchman. And so despair leads to betrayal. And you and I are no strangers to betrayal, are we?
~ Beckett to Jack Sparrow.
It's nothing personal, Jack. It's just good business.
~ Beckett breaking his promise.
Lord Cutler Beckett is one of the main antagonists of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean film series. He is the unseen overarching antagonist of the first film The Curse of The Black Pearl, the secondary antagonist of the second film Dead Man's Chest, the main antagonist of the third film At World's End and an unseen posthumous antagonist in the fourth and fifth films On Stranger Tides and Dead Men Tell No Tales. He can be considered The Heavy of the entire series.
He is the Governor of the East India Trading Company who wants to kill all pirates and control the seas by finding the heart of Davy Jones and using it to manipulate Jones into doing as they command. He and Jack Sparrow have had encounters in the past that leave both of them with permanent engravings on their skin. Beckett seeks to obtain order in the new world, as well as make Britain grow more powerful.
Prior to the events of Dead Man's Chest, Cutler Beckett took employment in Great Britain's East India Trading Company at a young age. While on a mission for the Company, he was captured by pirates led by Christophe-Julien de Rapièr. He was tortured for several weeks, an experience which left him with eternal hatred for all maritime outlaws, before he was ransomed by the Company. Over the years, he became the EITC Director for West Africa.
Thirteen years prior to the events of Dead Man's Chest, Beckett provided Jack Sparrow (who was under the employment of the E.I.T.C.) with the Wicked Wench to transport "a certain cargo" to the island of New Avalon in the Bahamas for Beckett's superior Viscount Penwallow. On voyage, Sparrow discovered the cargo was slaves and set them free on the island of Kerma off the west coast of Africa. Beckett became enraged upon learning Sparrow's deed. Beckett ordered the Wicked Wench sunk and officially branded Sparrow a pirate.
Dead Man's Chest
In the film, Cutler arrived at Port Royal carrying an arrest warrant for Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann as they helped a pirate named Jack Sparrow escape death. However, he offered Turner and Swann a royal pardon in exchange of delivering Sparrow's compass, though it turns out that Beckett only wants to use the compass to find the Dead Man's Chest, which possesses the heart of Davy Jones as part of King George ll's true plan to take over the Seven Seas and rid the world of a pirate council known as the Brethren Court.
In the end, James Norrington was able to steal Jones' heart and deliver it (along with signed Letters of Marque) to Beckett, who happily appoints Norrington as Admiral of the East India Trading Company. With that in mind, Beckett happily decides to set his plans further in taking control of Jones and his undead crew.
At World's End
In the film, Beckett is appointed representative of the company by the King, and is given full command of an entire British Navy armada to wipe out all of the pirates from the Seven Seas. His commitment to ending piracy bordered on fanaticism and obsession. Under his decree, all legal rights to trial and jury were suspended, and anyone suspected of piracy, or aiding or even associating with those suspected of piracy would be hanged. Using the Flying Dutchman, Beckett sends off Jones and his crew to take down many pirates ship without mercy, killing many pirates in the process. He even killed Elizabeth's father. After a while Beckett was even able to obtain the Black Pearl, with Sparrow on board. Beckett then offers a deal to Sparrow: if the latter would lead Beckett to the Brethren Court, he would spare Sparrow's life from Jones' judgement.
However, Sparrow manages to outwit Beckett and flee with the Black Pearl on tow, delaying Beckett enough for Sparrow to warn the Brethren Council of Beckett's ambitions. At one point, Will boards the Flying Dutchman to make a deal with Beckett and Jones. Later, Jones, Beckett and Will go to an island where they meet with Jack, Elizabeth and Hector Barbossa (the main antagonist of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film The Curse of The Black Pearl). Elizabeth agrees to give Jack to Beckett and Jones in exchange for Will's freedom, much to Jack's dismay. Beckett sets Will free and Jones takes Jack abroad. During the meeting, Elizabeth also tells Beckett he will die for killing her father. With that in mind, Jack's teams manage to board on the Flying Dutchman and stab Davy Jones' heart, killing him and freeing his crew from both Jones's and Beckett's control. The Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman then onward to confront Beckett on his ship (known as the Endeavour), firing many rounds. Realizing now that he has lost, Beckett can only watch in horror as he remains on boards while the surviving crew are forced to flee. Beckett slowly descends the deck stairs as the powder magazine of the Endeavour explodes, throwing him overboard and onto the floating EITC flag, symbolizing his death. With Beckett and Jones killed, the armada retreats away in defeat.
Behind his elegance and manner, Cutler Beckett is a cold, ruthless, arrogant, manipulative and murderous man. He is incredibly, almost eerily calm. Beckett speaks in an incredibly relaxed voice, he rarely or ever expresses his temper and has a sarcastic sense of humor. Even when The Flying Dutchman and The Black Pearl had surrounded his ship and began to fire, he still managed to keep a level-head all though this could be due to shock.
Beckett can come off as being an increasingly xenophobic and magisterial person, he despised pirates and sought to eradicate them from the Caribbean, single-handedly he has caused the deaths of dozens of pirates, even some of them were children. Beckett appeared to be a complete megalomaniac, he sought to locate the Dead Man's Chest that contained that heart of Davy Jones so that he may control Jones ship, The Flying Dutchman and in doing so would control the seven seas. As mentioned before hand, Beckett is a master manipulator, he will bargain or even blackmail someone for his advantage as he did with both Will Turner and Davy Jones. However he wouldn't always follow through on his deals, as when he promised Sao Feng the Black Pearl if Feng captured the crew of the Pearl, something which he would never honor.
After gaining control of the Dead Man's Chest, Beckett appears to have developed paranoia and believed that his new minion Davy Jones would sic his pet, the Kraken on him and this demanded that Jones slay the monster and then killed Governor Swann in case he ever discovered the true significance of the Dead Man's Chest. Beckett comes off as being quite authoritative and confident, perhaps even overconfident and egotistical, and he never once doubted his fleet and given its size and numbers this was justified.
Beckett was neither a religious man nor did he believe in God which was odd for men at that time and refused to become a priest. As an eight year old, Beckett was a very intelligent boy and ahead any of the children of his class; as an eighteen year old person, he was extremely well-educated and knowledgeable, and he was familiar with the workings of Isaac Newton; as a grown man Beckett possessed great skills that help him run the East India Trading Company. He is also extremely biddable, obsequious, manipulative, and smooth-talking, so he will use any means necessary to get what he wants, and he is very deferential and polite.
Lord Cutler Beckett is the first main villain of the series who is not a pirate followed by Armando Salazar from the fifth film Dead Man Tell No Tales, released 10 years after At World's End. However, in comparison, Salazar is much less evil than Beckett.
Something which makes Beckett really monstrous in comparison to other antagonists in the series is his willingness to kill children whose only crime is being associated with pirates, as seen during the beginning of At World's End, where he sends a cabin boy to the gallows. In real life, children recruited by pirates were mostly pardoned due being forced to join them and if they didn't do any piracy act by their own.
Lord Cutler Beckett is considered, alongside Blackbeard, as one of the darkest Pirates of the Caribbean villains.