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In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Jack tricks Salazar to enter into the Devil's Triangle and he got cursed to live as dead. He cannot escape the triangle.

However, when Jack Sparrow leaves his compass at the bar, Salazar got freed from the Triangle and can sail anywhere in the water to hunt for Jack.

Why and how is Jack's compass connected to that curse? Did a previous pirate captain put some curse on compass before giving it to Jack?

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  • 5
    it's a giant plothole
    – Paulie_D
    Jun 12 '17 at 9:07
  • 2
    Didn't the compass let you encounter your worst fear in case you betray it? One may argue that would be a forever empty bottle but that would be anti climatic.
    – Zibelas
    Jun 12 '17 at 14:50
  • The impression I got was that Salazar's curse isn't directly linked to the compass. However the compass is powerful enough to alter Salazar's curse should it choose to, and it chose to release Salazar from the Devil's Triangle because getting him cursed was the first desire the compass helped Jack achieve. That's just my guess though, the writers of the film haven't said why explicitly as far as I know. Jun 12 '17 at 14:52
  • Yeah, all the answers so far, including @Paulie_D's comment, are answering the wrong question (they are answering a question I wanted to ask until I saw this) - this question's answer is more along the lines of Zibelas' comment: the compass unleashes your worst fear if you betray it, just as it points to the thing you desire most if you're loyal to it. In Jack's case, it happened to be Salazar and his cursed ship, but is otherwise not uniquely linked to the compass. Sep 8 '17 at 22:16
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    There - I gave an answer that actually addresses the question, rather than a different "How come Jack's magical compass didn't release his greatest fear during previous betrayals?" which someone could ask as a separate question, and could be answered by these "plothole" answers. Sep 8 '17 at 22:42
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The compass releases your greatest fear, which in Jack Sparrow's case is Salazar

40 minutes into Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge (2017), Captain Hector Barbossa visits a bald witch, Shansa, to consult with her for a solution to his problem of undead sailors having "taken command of the sea".

Once Barbossa confirms that his treasure is "worth dying for", Shansa reveals some information about the compass:

SHANSA: Jack held a compass which points you to the thing you desire most. But, betray the compass... And it releases your greatest fear.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge (2017)

The compass is not linked to Salazar or his curse in any special way, except that Jack's greatest fear, at the time of betraying it, happened to be Salazar.

This becomes even more clear when we take a look at the flashback scene in which we see Jack being given the compass by his former captain, Captain Morgan:

MORGAN: It's up to you now, Jack. This compass points towards what you want most. Never betray it.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge (2017)

Morgan had this magical compass and was aware of its special relationship (never to betray it) before Salazar was ever destroyed at the Devil's Triangle, and before Salazar was cursed, so it makes no sense that it would have an inherent, special relationship to one particular curse that would happen in the future, long after the inception of the magical compass.

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  • How can this be true, and in the same time Jack thought that Captain Salazar is dead.
    – Mourad
    Sep 11 '17 at 16:18
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    @Mourad and in the same time Jack thought that Captain Salazar is dead Any evidence for this claim? Everything in the movie points to Salazar's undead crew and the Silent Mary being an infamous, terrifying legend/myth at the Devil's Triangle - it's likely that Jack heard of this curse decades ago (and therefore suspected it was true and feared them greatly). Even if he didn't, our main character, Henry Turner, meets Salazar in person and warns Jack/passes on the message, solidifying for Jack that indeed they are real/alive, reifying his greatest fear. Sep 11 '17 at 16:33
  • @GhotiandChips When Jack is first warned about Salazar by Turner, he says "nope, he is dead. very dead. happily". So he clearly thinks (or wants to think) that Salazar is dead.
    – TylerH
    Jan 10 '18 at 16:33
  • @TylerH And straight after he asks: What did he say? to which Henry replies with He said your compass was the key, his escape. An army of dead, are coming straight for you, Jack. Which, even if we grant that Jack truly did believe Salazar was dead, despite all the rumors and legends and his own experience with the supernatural and undead, would have, as I said in my previous reply "reified his greatest fear". We can only assume the compass somehow knows your greatest fear even if you try to ignore it or repress it. Jan 10 '18 at 20:28
  • @GhotiandChips: It's plausible that Jack, up until the conversation where he receives Salazar's message, believes him to be dead. The Devil's Triangle is known for essentially no one coming out alive - that's the observable fact. So instead of Salazar somehow becoming the thing that attacks everyone else, it stands to reason for Jack to assume that the Devil's Triangle killed Salazar in the same way as everyone else who never returned. You wouldn't expect Jack to similarly assume that everyone who went into the Triangle became an undead spooky captain, right? So why specifically Salazar?
    – Flater
    Jan 16 at 19:27
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I don't believe it is a plot hole at all.

Jack may have given away the compass before but he had never betrayed it. The two things are mutually exclusive.

From this source:

  • In Dead Man's Chest, Jack gave away his compass to Elizabeth and convinced her that the only way to find Will Turner was to find the Chest. During the DVD commentary, writers Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott explained that the compass only points in Jack's "direction" - not at Jack himself - when Elizabeth holds it and on Isla Cruces. It continually points at the location of the Chest, despite Elizabeth believing it is pointing at Jack. Therefore, the compass was actually faithful to what Elizabeth wanted at that moment.
  • In At World's End, Jack gives the compass to Will, who probably doesn't use it, but remains the owner of the compass until he gives it to Beckett, who then returns it to Jack. However, Jack gave it to Will to save himself, thus breaking his loyalty to the compass.
  • In On Stranger Tides, Jack gives away the compass to Gibbs, who finds the Black Pearl. As Jack mentioned that it would lead him to his freedom, the compass led him to Blackbeard's ship, which was the nearest means of getting off the island. There he probably had a change of heart, robbed the miniature ships and sailed back to the island to rescue Jack.

And my arguments against each point:

  • He gave it to Elizabeth meaning to get it back only so he could find the chest, it wasn't to remain with Elizabeth forever.
  • He gives it to Will so that he can find them again where Jack had all intentions of getting it back
  • Haven't seen this film for a while so will need a refresher!

When he gives it up and Salazar is released he is finally betraying the compass as he has no intentions of getting it back as he has given up.


Lastly, I would argue again that the origins of the compass are clear. He bartered for the compass, something happened (grey area here) and then he inherits it.

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  • Make your answer self contained; this is a comment on another answer, not a self contained answer. I mean, point 3 makes zero sense without having read the other answer first.
    – Yakk
    Jun 12 '17 at 14:09
  • @Yakk Will do, I was going to add the quotes in again but thought it was pointless having two answers both quoting the same quote from the same source. Jun 12 '17 at 14:10
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It's generally considered a plot hole.

Not only has Jack betrayed the compass before...

  • In Dead Man's Chest, Jack gave away his compass to Elizabeth and convinced her that the only way to find Will Turner was to find the Chest. During the DVD commentary, writers Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott explained that the compass only points in Jack's "direction" - not at Jack himself - when Elizabeth holds it and on Isla Cruces. It continually points at the location of the Chest, despite Elizabeth believing it is pointing at Jack. Therefore, the compass was actually faithful to what Elizabeth wanted at that moment.
  • In At World's End, Jack gives the compass to Will, who probably doesn't use it, but remains the owner of the compass until he gives it to Beckett, who then returns it to Jack. However, Jack gave it to Will to save himself, thus breaking his loyalty to the compass.
  • In On Stranger Tides, Jack gives away the compass to Gibbs, who finds the Black Pearl. As Jack mentioned that it would lead him to his freedom, the compass led him to Blackbeard's ship, which was the nearest means of getting off the island. There he probably had a change of heart, robbed the miniature ships and sailed back to the island to rescue Jack.

But even the origins of the compass are not coherent.

[Jack] bartered [the compass] from the voodoo mystic Tia Dalma and later inherited from his captain.

A wild guess here is that Jack's previous captain, when he died and gave Jack the compass, curses Salazar (the man who killed him). However, this is pure speculation, and as far as I know, no official word has come out about this.

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1

I think what is missing in the idea of what Jack fears most is not just Salazar himself, rather it is death. Throughout the PotC series Jack is always looking for a way to prolong his life. He wants to essentially live forever on the seas as Captain Jack Sparrow. Fountain of youth and Davey Jones heart are the examples. We even get a glimpse of it in CotBP when it takes the Aztec gold coin and finds it interesting even if only for a moment. Jones' main saying is "Do you fear death?" Salazar even says that once he sees the light that death will come for him. Again, death is the common idea of each film as well as life.

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  • That's an interesting theory, but it doesn't really answer the question that is about the curse linked with Sparrow's compass.
    – A J
    May 11 '18 at 5:09
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Well, in the first 3 movies, Davy Jones was alive, and I would say it's a safe bet to say, that Jack feared Davy Jones and his judgement the most, during this time. So maybe him betraying the compass during this time just put Davy Jones closer to Jack's trail than he anticipated. I gotta say I really do hate the whole thing with Salazar and how he was released by the compass... Will Turners sons ship just happens to float into the Devils Triangle, which allows Salazar's to murder everyone on board, save said son... Who of course has a link to Jack Sparrow... Then Salazar who can apparently see into the future, knows Jack is going to give his compass away, very soon! Then tells Henry to tell Jack he's coming for him... The army of dead dudes never would have been after Jack if he never gave away the compass.... I just... I don't know man... Its all just to much for me I guess. It's just way to finicky...

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