In Westworld (2016)

Arnold, the park co-founder has the host Dolores kill him after killing the other hosts.

What was his motivation for suicide? I assume he was acting of sound mind and chose suicide rationally rather than resulting from mental illness.

You can bring all of them back, but not me

If he believed the hosts were conscious and wanted to end their perpetual suffering, wouldn't he be better suited to ensure the complete destruction of the hosts while alive?

Rather than suicide, couldn't he just have quit the park or refuse to build any more hosts? If he died, the only person who believed the hosts were conscious was gone and Ford would have free reign.

  • 2
    Our agreed policy about spoilers in titles says don't, so I changed yours to a generic non-spoiler. Feel free to change it to what you like, as long as you don't spoil anything. If it's not a spoiler, forgive my ignorance, as I have not watched the show Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 20:05
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    I was unaware of the spoiler policy, I will follow it going forward.
    – Mike
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 20:16
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    My interpretation was that Arnold was hoping one of two things would happen 1) The investors, seeing a host kill a human would pull out, preventing the park from opening. 2) Ford, wracked with guilt over his friend's death would pull the plug on the park and explore the host's humanity further.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 20:28
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    We dont have enough information to answer this question yet. This show is relying on a great deal of secrecy for its plot twists, similar to the revelation of the man in the black hat's identity, and (as mentioned above) there are a number of theories forming due to the lack of information... I am waiting to find out how no one that works there recognizes that Bernard looks exactly like the Arnold all those years later. Really, no one looked at a picture of Arnold and then Bernard and thought it is awful strange these two look exactly alike? Someone from the board must have noticed...
    – Odin1806
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 21:50
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    Ford states that Arnold's quest for consciousness had driven him mad, so there is that too
    – Gaius
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 8:34

2 Answers 2


I have only finished the first season so this may be answered differently in later seasons.

The moment Arnold realised Delores has achieved a sense of self and real consciousness he tried to get Ford to understand that these where not tools to be used for the entertainment of others. He understood that he needed to stop the park being used as a getaway for human entertainment because he understood the things that humans would do to the hosts.

That is made clear by a number of statements Ford says throughout the first season about Arnold. Throw away comments about how Arnold understood what humanity would do and he wanted the park shut because of that.

So Arnold realised he had to destroy the work and more importantly he realised that as his friend Ford would always be able to get him to rebuild and start over. He also lived with the guilt of his sons death. We can understand from how Bernard is programmed to make think about that event as Arnold did how Arnold must have felt and how it drove his work. It is possible that he didn’t trust himself not to start over in his lifetime and believed that whatever he did the same outcome would happen.

Arnold also seemed to understand that dying would risk the future of the park, Logan tells William, that one of the partners died, some hush hush thing that has opened an opportunity to invest and buy the park.

Ford himself tells Delores that Arnold almost succeeded it was only though the investment of Delos at the pushing of William that the park and hosts where saved.

But something Ford says to Bernard also makes me think that Arnold hoped that Delores killing him would do something else. Ford tells Bernard that he never saw Delores choice as free will because he convinced himself it was just Arnold making her do it.

So Arnold hoped that, in the end, by understanding what Delores did and why then it would prove to Ford that Arnold was right and so Ford would fab different path. A different route, maybe closing the park down or maybe doing something different with the hosts.


Arnold watched as the hosts became better and better, progressing towards achieving consciousness. He, in fact, displayed great struggle over the decision to either allow hosts to continue onto the path of consciousness, or to roll-back the updates.

He would give up his life and the chance to oversee rise of a new conscious life-form only in the case of (fan theories follow):

  • He didn't want the park to open because the park treats them as objects, not even a second class citizen. In his mind this was an unacceptable inhuman treatment of a specie. If the hosts misbehaved, the park opening could be delayed, maybe indefinitely. This gives the hosts to develop consciousness, which nobody except him wanted (at that time).
  • He injected some code which would cause the hosts to eventually break free of the shackles of human 'overlords'. He committed suicide to prevent anyone from forcing him to undo his work.
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    Why have you made this a community wiki?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 13:40
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    Where is your evidence that Arnold wasn't killed?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 13:40
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    But these aren't valid reasons, they're pure guesswork
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 13:42
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    No evidence is provided and response is entirely speculation.
    – Mike
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 1:40
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    Hrmm... A community wiki with an editing community of one. Sounds like somebody knew they were putting down a garbage answer and wanted to insulate themselves from the downvotes.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 13:46

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