by Soren Dreier
Charles Vane is a character in the series ‘Black Sails’.
Among a variety of Pirate Captains, he is the one who stands ethically strong throughout the saga. Most do, but he is the personification of honesty in every breath he takes and his belief in ‘all men shall remain free’ is uncompromised. He is allergic to slavery and he is allergic to betrayal.
Honor and codes of conduct seem to be a solid stronghold in his soul. He cannot in any way plug back into the Matrix, no matter if he wants too. His eyes have seen too much abuse.
He fights and he kills, but never in random or for the pleasure of it. At some point in the series, when the British colonial power seeks to take the island of New Providence, he turns his attention to bringing the British Empire down.
And he walks the ‘Via Dolorosa’. No regrets.
This is his conversation with the Pastor, before he faces the gallows:
Pastor: I assume you understand what is to happen as soon as everything begins. It´ll be loud, confusing. Men who never experienced fear are said to know it for the first time. But in this moment, there is quiet. An opportunity to find some measure of peace. I would like to help you do that.
Charles Vane: You´ve done this before?
Pastor: I have. Regretfully I have.
Charles Vane: Get many takers, do you? For the kind of peace you are offering?
Pastor: It is a different experience to what you imagine it being. Surely a man like you has faced death before, but never so nakedly. And cloaked in glory or sacrifice, fully exposed in all its horror and finality. In this moment, you have the opportunity to enter into the moment with a clear conscience. I can help you do that. To repent.
Charles Vane: I have nothing to repent for with you.
Pastor: Don’t you? I understand the code you subscribe to. I understand that you believe your violence is justified in the name of a defiance of tyranny, but there are mothers who buried their sons because of you. Wives widowed because of you. Children awoken in their sleep because of you to be told their father was never coming home because of you. What kind of a man can experience no remorse from this?
Charles Vane: Whatever remorse I have or do not have is my own. That I chose not to share it with you says more about you than it does about me.
Pastor: Me? I am a shepherd sent to help you find a path to God’s forgiveness.
Charles Vane: A shepherd? You are the sheep. Whatever I have to say to God I´ll tell him myself or not at all.
In Vane’s ethics, he has done nothing wrong. The men he killed were, in his perspective, an honest killing. His ethics command him to look his opponents in the eye and offer them surrender. If they do so, he treats them with respect, and if they do not, he fights them, he wins and they die.