|“||Advise your brethren. You can fight and all of you will die… or you can not fight, in which case only most of you will die.||„|
|~ Beckett during parley|
|“||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, Jack?||„|
|~ Beckett to Jack Sparrow|
Lord Cutler Beckett is the head of the East India Trading Company in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. He is the secondary antagonist in Dead Man's Chest and one of two the main antagonists in At World's End. The company 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.
He was portrayed by actor Tom Hollander.
- "Are you all right, young Master Beckett?"
"Yes, schoolmaster. I would just like to finish reading this chapter you assigned, please."
"Of course, laddie. ’Tis a pleasure to have a student who loves his book."
- ―Angus MacFarlin and Cutler Beckett
Cutler Beckett was born in a wealthy family in the county of Somersetshire in South England. When he was born, he was a small, sickly baby that no one expected to survive, but he surprised his family by living. He spent his youth on the family's estate of Springhaven. Cutler's father, Jonathan Beckett Sr., was the director of the Beckett Trading Company, one of the top five merchant companies in England.
From his earliest years, Cutler Beckett was fascinated with books and learning. Unlike his older brothers, Jonathan Jr. and Bartholomew, who struggled to master enough mathematics to handle accounting, and enough reading and writing to be able to write confidential business letters in a clear hand, Cutler soon evidenced significant aptitude as a scholar. The subjects that fascinated him were numerous: history, geography, and the classics written in their original Greek and Latin.
By the age of eight, Cutler Beckett was far better student than his classmates, the sons of local nobles. After an ugly incident in which Cutler was brutally beaten by his classmates, his teacher Angus MacFarlin decided to give him private tutoring lessons. MacFarlin, who liked Cutler's imagination, gave him a copy of an interesting book, My Lyfe Amonge the Pyrates, written by Captain J. Ward, a man who was believed to be a pirate himself. Full of stories about the adventures on the high seas, the book sparked young Cutler's interest in treasure and the supernatural. One of Cutler's favorite legends in the book was the legend of Zerzura, the Shining City, located on the island of Kerma. According to Captain Ward's book, the island was hidden from the outside world by the magical fog and inhabited by the descendants of the Kushites who left Egypt and Kush thousands of years earlier.
For the next few years, Cutler enjoyed in MacFarlin's private lessons, accompanied by his older sister Jane. However, one thing Cutler still couldn't gain, the respect and love from his father Jonathan. His father and his brothers looked at him like an unwanted mouth they have to feed. Only his sister Jane and his sickly mother showed him love. Wanting to make his father proud of himself, young Cutler decided to become a general or an admiral, a man who would be called "Sir" one day. He believed that his father would show him some respect if he acquires a title, the one thing no Beckett before ever had.
Leaving his home
- "Cutler, your mother has a wasting disease. Some kind of unknown ailment the doctors can’t diagnose or cure. She’s dying, boy. Seeing you settled as a clergyman is her last wish."
"How dare you try to use my mother to manipulate me, you devil? A ‘wasting disease’ is it? An ‘unknown ailment?’ You lying, filthy hypocrite! I know what’s wrong with my mother, and so do you! She has the damned pox, and you gave it to her! Why it hasn’t brought you down yet, I don’t know, but if I believed, I’d pray every day that it would!"
- ―Jonathan Beckett Sr. and Cutler Beckett
By the age of eighteen, Cutler was well educated. He had studied the works of Isaac Newton, and he wanted to become a professor. With his knowledge, he knew he would be accepted at Cambridge or Oxford. But before settling as a professor, he wanted to see the world.
One day, his father asked him what would he like to do with his life. Knowing that he had a "head for business", Cutler responded that he would like to join his brothers in the Beckett Trading Company. But Jonathan Beckett had a different opinion, believing that Cutler would never be suitable for service to King George, and he wanted Cutler to become a clergyman instead, saying that he has made "an investment" in a nice vicarage for him.
However, Cutler refused his father's offer, knowing that he wouldn't be a good priest, as he didn't believe in God at all. But then Jonathan said to Cutler how his mother is very sick, and that her last wish is to see him settled as a clergyman. When he heard that, Cutler had a burst of rage, accusing his father of infecting his mother with a smallpox after sleeping with dozens of prostitutes on his night outs. After saying to his father that he despises him, Cutler decided to leave his family's home the same day. Jane heard Cutler's conversation with their father, and though she couldn't come with him immediately, she gave him her entire life savings, so he could send for her once he's settled.
East India Trading Company
- "Sir...I would like to take the liberty of formally thanking you once again, this time in person, for your rescue of me ten years ago. To put it bluntly, you saved my life, when my family refused to come to my rescue, in effect casting me off. If it were not for your order that resulted in my being freed, I shudder to think what would have happened to me."
- ―Cutler Beckett to Reginald Marmaduke Bracegirdle-Penwallow
After packing his bags, young Cutler headed for London, where he found employment in the East India Trading Company. Cutler worked at the London EITC Office for several months, proving himself to be a good executive. One day, Cutler's superiors assigned him to a tour of duty at the EITC office on Gibraltar. He quickly boarded the merchant ship Lindesfarne in London, hoping to finally fulfill his ambition of seeing the world.
However, during the journey, off the coast of Spain, the Lindesfarne was captured by the pirate ship Le Requin, captained by the Frenchman Christophe-Julien de Rapièr. Cutler unwisely angered the pirate captain, telling him that his fancy clothes are out-fashioned both in London and Paris. The pirate captain allowed his crew to "play" with the youngster, and they tortured him for days. While waiting for the ransom money, the pirate crew forced Cutler and other prisoners to clean their ship; whipping them if they didn't do their work well. Still furious at his son, Jonathan Beckett Sr. refused to pay the ransom, but the EITC official Reginald Marmaduke Bracegirdle-Penwallow sent a ransom for Cutler, and Captain de Rapièr freed the young boy. The experience in captivity left Cutler with eternal hatred for pirates.
- "The EITC invested a goodly sum in me, a new and unproven employee, and it happened all by your order. I have always endeavored to make sure the company has been well repaid for its investment, my lord."
"Pish and tosh, Beckett! You repaid the EITC its actual outlay within a remarkably short period of time, and since then, you have been responsible for numerous profitable ventures, too many to detail."
- ―Cutler Beckett and Reginald Marmaduke Bracegirdle-Penwallow
When he reached Gibraltar, the first thing Cutler Beckett did was writing a letter to the EITC official, Lord Penwallow, thanking him for the EITC’s faith in him, and promising to pay back the ransom amount. After his return to England, Beckett continued to work for the Company. For some time, Beckett worked at the EITC office in Bristol. Over the years, Beckett rose rapidly through the EITC ranks, and he was sent to the Far East to work for the EITC branch in Nippon at the port of Edo.
For all these years, Cutler stayed in contact with his sister. Now that he was well established, he wanted her to join him, but he couldn't ask her to travel to the other side of the world, a voyage that would take at least six months. When he learned from Jane that their mother is dead, he promised her that she could join him at his next posting.
Over the years, Beckett employed many operatives, men in important foreign ports who kept an eye on developments and reported to him. He had a web of spies funneling him information at all times. A man named Gates, a former spy for the British Crown, served as Beckett's eyes and ears in the seamier sections of Edo. More than a few of Gates' assignments involved violence, either covert or overt.
- "You have done very well, Beckett, very well indeed, at outfitting your home. You have some lovely things."
"I try to keep my living arrangements...civilized...my lord, no matter where the EITC sends me. Since I plan a lifetime of service, it is well to have the ability to make a home anywhere."
"Excellent, excellent, Beckett! It is good to hear that you plan to stay with us. Your work has been exemplary to date."
- ―Reginald Marmaduke Bracegirdle-Penwallow and Cutler Beckett[src]
After working for three years in Nippon, Beckett was relocated to Calabar in West Africa, where he became the Director of West African Affairs for the East India Trading Company. When he came to Calabar, Beckett immediately hired Ian Mercer, a professional spy and a killer for hire, to replace his previous operative, Gates, who was killed on a mission in Nippon.
Immediately after he arrived at his new post, Beckett received a letter from his cousin Susan in which she informed him that his sister had died from a fever. Coldhearted as he became, he didn't mourn her death, because he had more important things to do. He was already rich and powerful, and the only thing he wanted now was a title, so he could briefly come to Somersetshire, see his father, and then give him the “cut direct,” the worst insult high society allows.
It didn’t take Beckett long to adjust to the demands of his new job, and to ensconce himself in the European community that was growing in Calabar. Soon, Beckett involved himself in a brisk side business in light-skinned female concubines for few of the wealthy and powerful gentlemen in Calabar. He also did “favors” for powerful men, asking for no payment. He knew that having wealthy, powerful men that owed him, that required his discretion and continuing silence, often paid off in many ways.
A few months after he arrived to his new post, Beckett was visited by his immediate supervisor, the EITC’s Director of African Affairs, Viscount, Lord Reginald Marmaduke Bracegirdle-Penwallow. For the next ten days, Lord Penwallow stayed in Calabar as Beckett's personal guest. During that time, Penwallow told him of his contacts at the Court of King George II and the EITC top management. When Lord Penwallow finally departed, Beckett knew that Penwallow might be his ticket to a title.
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 a xenophobe, 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 confident, perhaps even overconfident and 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 he was extremely well-educated and 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.