Swashbuckling, rum-swilling, Dressed to Plunder pirates in modern times. This trope covers works the presence of pirates clearly based on The Golden Age of Piracy, whether the real deal or the Hollywood versions, in works clearly set in the modern era or, at least, any point after the heyday of Caribbean piracy ended.
Exactly why these characters are dressed and acting like they are varies from case to case. Some will be consciously trying to reenact "classical" piracy for one reason or another, and deliberately take up the dress, gimmicks and mannerisms of pop culture piracy. Other cases will simply have peg-legged, eyepatch-wearing, doubloon-seeking Blackbeard stand-ins roam the seas of the 20th century without comment or explanation.
A Helpless Observer Protagonist is Forced to Watch the story unfold in front of them, powerless to interact with anyone or anything. They're a witness to events so far beyond their control that they can't even influence the outcome in minor ways such as giving someone advice. They may be a ghost, intangible, trapped in an And I Must Scream situation, watching a recording of past events, or heavily oppressed. In prose, they're usually a first-person narrator.
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