“So Jack finds himself in a tough spot — he thinks the thing he wants most is to find the chest of Davy Jones, but the Compass is telling him there is at least one other thing he would want more. Yes, the big clue as to what that might be comes in Tia Dalma’s shack — ‘what is it that vexes a man?’ And Jack says, ‘A woman.’
In the text of the movie, then, there’s no way to NOT make the connection … a guy has a problem with his Compass … says that the thing that vexes all men is a woman. Ergo, Jack is vexed by a woman. So who is the woman?
It’s interesting, when you think about it, because the film does not say explicity. Tia Dalma makes the connection that — in another story — a man fell in love with a woman as wild and untameable as the sea.
There is no denying the chemistry and heat that occurs between Jack and Elizabeth (and their connection on Rumrunner’s island). Does the Compass not work because Elizabeth crossed into Jack’s life — and he wants her, that connection with another human being that even the sea cannot provide? Does Jack see qualities in Elizabeth that are similar to the sea itself?
What the film does show is Elizabeth has vexed Jack’s Compass. A man who used to simply love only freedom finds — to his own great consternation — a part of him wants something that he doesn’t fully understand. But he wants it (he even says — again to Elizabeth!! — ‘I want to taste it.’)
He is VEXED.”
– Terry Rossio, co-writer of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy (x)