The guillotine was an apparatus designed for carrying out executions by beheading. The device consisted of a tall, upright frame in which a weighted and angled blade was raised to the top and suspended. The condemned person was secured with stocks at the bottom of the frame, positioning the neck directly below the blade. The blade was then released, to quickly fall and forcefully decapitate the victim with a single, clean pass so that the head fell into a basket below.
It is unknown when the guillotine was invented, but it was already known and used in France and its overseas ports like New Orleans by the time of Jack Sparrow's teenage adventures. When Sparrow and the crew of the Barnacle visited the city and falsely introduced themselves to the harbormaster and the local police as the king's cartographer and a group of fishermen, the French officials did not believe them, but they knew they would risk the king's wrath and end up on the guillotine if the young visitors were telling the truth and complained about them to the king so they eventually let them enter the city without any official documents.
By 1751 the guillotine was still considered a new invention on the island of Saint Martin, a British colony in the Leeward Islands. Two of the prisoners, Jack Sparrow and Carina Smyth, were both sentenced to death, as they were believed to be a pirate and a witch, respectively. When a Royal marine inquired how he wanted to die, Jack inadvertently ended up accidentally asking for a guillotine.
Because he was sentenced to be decapitated, Jack was carried atop the gallows, while Carina was prepared to be hung. After a long argument between Smyth and Sparrow over who was to die first, it was decided that they would both die at the same time. However, Henry Turner suddenly arrived and fought several guards, but was soon captured. Lieutenant John Scarfield ordered his men to prepare another noose, but Turner revealed that he was simply a diversion; as the executioner prepared to pull the lever to execute Sparrow, the crew of the Dying Gull revealed themselves, firing a cannon that inflicted heavy damage upon the gallows, which sent the executioner flying and caused the guillotine to begin to spin around with Sparrow still in it. The guillotine was soon completely destroyed.
Behind the scenesEdit
- In real-world history the guillotine was invented in 1792. In the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise it was invented several decades earlier.
- In Dead Men Tell No Tales during the escape from Saint Martin lieutenant John Scarfield was knocked down by Jack Sparrow with a piece of wood. In the film's novelization and the comic book adaptation Scarfield was knocked down with the guillotine's blade.
- The Brightest Star in the North: The Adventures of Carina Smyth (First appearance)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales