In One Piece Manga, Bellamy was introduced in Jaya Arc. He's one of the powerful rookies in the Grand Line with a bounty of 55 Million Berry.
While he was leagues below Luffy by his introduction. His character provided one of the most significant moral challenges to Luffy's character. He's also serves as a contrast to Blackbeard and Luffy. Those two are Dreamers, while Bellamy was a Dream Crusher.
When they first met, Bellamy was an arrogant pirate who attacked Luffy for no reason than to show off how much stronger he is. He has the biggest bounty in the Island. (Not knowing that Luffy's bounty just increased to the double his own.)
When he heard that the Straw Hat pirates are going for Skypia, he made fun of them. Bellamy explained that these were myths the older folk made-up by failing to understand natural phenomena. He then goes on about how Dreams make you stupid and people who look for things like that are stupid.
There is no sky Island, no City of Gold and no One Piece. Folks romanticized stuff to feel better about those who died pursuing them. The age of dreams is over! This is the New Age! Bellamy Hates Dreamers!
Luffy didn't fight him back at the time. He was never a threat to him and his friends. Those who have no goals to strive for, are just a waste of Luffy's time.
Except that he does have one... Bellamy's Dream is actually the reason he adopted the Philosophy. Bellamy as a young man from North Blue, was always a fan of the pirates of the new age: The Donquixote Family!
What Bellamy says about the end of the age of dreams is an echo of Donquixote Doflamingo's philosophy. Doflamingo's vision of being a pirate is about power and control. About not caring about honor and doing what you can to become better. About not having dreams at all.
What makes this much worse, is that Doflamingo doesn't even care about what he preaches. What he really wants is to destroy the world in revenge. No one will be happy if Doflamingo succeeded, not even Doflamingo himself...
Of course, as a fan of your role model, you want to adopt his philosophy. That's what Bellamy did, but couldn't fully commit to it.
The irony here for Bellamy is that by adopting Doflamingo's philosophy, he's going against it at the same time. He wanted to be accepted by the Donquixote family, and would do anything for that. His dream is to become part of them, and that requires him to crush the idea of dreaming itself.
...and he knows, Bellamy knows he's following the wrong man. He realizes the hypocrisy of what he's doing, yet he can't betray his feelings.
That's why, in my eyes Bellamy's dream is so tragic. The dream that he strives for tells him that he shouldn't have it in the first place. The only thing Bellamy follows with honor is his dream, but the dream itself requires him to abandon all honor. That's the price you pay for wanting to be a subordinated of such a manipulative man.
In the Dressrosa Arc, I felt both respect and sympathy for someone I dismissed as a one-off villain.
Now I know, Bellamy is just a product of two incompatible philosophies trying to coexist in one man. That's the true tragedy of the dream crusher...
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- Images are taken from ONE PIECE Manga. From both Jaya & Dressrosa arcs.
- This article is crossposted here on Hive & on Read.cash.
- Ohara's Analysis of "A Person Dream Never Dies" Scene.