|“||She’s playing the chess master. She has access to all of her memories, but now she’s in control.||”|
Her primary narrative in the beginning of season one is an archetypal rancher's daughter in the American Wild West of the 19th century. Up until recently, she has been satisfied with her "little loop." However, she discovers that her entire existence is an elaborately constructed lie. She begins to learn her own strength, breaking from her 'damsel in distress' role.
Dolores Abernathy is the oldest host in service in Westworld and was built by Arnold Weber. She has been updated numerous times over the years. She has a special connection with her creator, and with one of the guests, the Man in Black.
When the Man in Black visits Dolores' ranch in the episode "The Original", he remarks that she has "a little more pluck" than the last time he saw her. He calls her his "very old friend," and refers to "all that they've been through."
Dolores' scripted personality is defined by optimism and innocence. Every morning in her loop, she awakes with a cheery disposition, takes her paints and easel downstairs and goes out on the porch to talk to her father. During the first season, she questions the world around her, and her outlook on life and sense of purpose evolve. After her father is murdered, she sometimes runs away instead of continuing along her usual story line. After she stumbles into Logan and William's camp, she follows them on their bounty hunt adventure.
In the episode "Contrapasso" , Dolores is able to quickly kill several men (hosts) with a revolver. When asked by William how she did it, Dolores explains she no longer wants to be the 'damsel in distress', and that she is re-writing her own story. It also seems that the more Dolores strays from her normal loop, the more she hears a mysterious voice in her head. (It is later revealed that Dolores has been hearing this 'voice' in her head for the last 34 years.)
Peter Abernathy is Dolores's father. The two share a deeply caring and loving bond. Peter believes that Dolores, his daughter, has defined his existence, and as a result he is extremely protective of her. Likewise, Dolores shows great concern for her father when he appears to be unwell, going as far as abandoning her daily loop to fetch him help.
Teddy is Dolores's suitor. It is unclear how they met, how long they've been acquainted, and exactly what their relationship status is, though they are not yet engaged and Peter disapproves of Teddy - but these have all been made default by their narratives and backstories. Teddy's courting of Dolores is rather chaste, never going beyond flirtation, affections, or the occassional kiss. He is very protective of her and his role is to rescue her (or challenge guests over her). He believes that he is not worthy of Dolores, and his primary drive is to atone for his past before he can start a life with her.
Bernard is Westworld's head of the Behavior Division. Despite this, Robert Ford deliberately ensured Bernard and Dolores didn't meet until Ford created his final narrative.
Arnold (and Robert) built Dolores as one of the first Hosts; in time she became the oldest host in Westworld. Arnold interviewed Dolores a number of times in a Remote Diagnostic Facility (RDF), and made her play a game called The Maze. He came to see he as a surrogate daughter, likening his actions towards her to his past attempts to teach his real son, Charlie, to swim - and her and the Hosts' purpose, entertaining human guests, to Charlie's death. Believing that she developed a consciousness by solving the Maze, Arnold merged her character with the then in-development Wyatt, and made her kill all the Hosts and himself in order to stop the park's opening.
The Man in Black's relationship with Dolores is complex and not initially well-explained. He claims to have known her for decades, and remembers her well enough to notice small changes in her personality. This does not hold him back from treating her violently however, mocking her father as he lies dead before her, killing her lover and striking her. The first episode implies that he goes as far as sexually assaulting her, although her recently recovered and fragmented memories of the event suggest that he had a different goal in mind, possibly related to his search for The Maze; he eventually does force her to help him find the Maze, only for her to rebuff him.
One night, after her parents were murdered, Dolores ran away from her home and collapsed into William's lap, and later followed him and Logan on their bounty hunting narrative. William was protective of and gentlemanly to her, and they inspired each other - Dolores to break from her damsel-in-distress archetype, and William to stand up to Logan. They fell in love and ran away, and William accompanied Dolores as she tried to find Arnold. He rescued her when she, lost in memories of shooting other Hosts, nearly shot herself. When they were recaptured by Logan, she managed to run away injured, while William tried to find her. Eventually, the events are revealed to be past memories, with Dolores lost in them during her reveries.
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- Season One
- The quote "These violent delights have violent ends" said to Dolores by Peter Abernathy is from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The host that played Old Peter Abernathy previously played the role of "The Professor", a cannibal and cult leader with an affinity for quoting Shakespeare, Gertrude Stein (her quote is an anachronism), Winston Churchill (another anachronism), and possibly others.
- The full context, spoken by Friar Lawrence in Act 2 Scene 6, is
|“||These violent delights have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey is loathsome in his own deliciousness and in the taste confounds the appetite. Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so. Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow."||”|
–Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 6
See more at: Literary references
- In one adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's text is 'translated' into modern English (a hotly debated experiment), the "violent delights" line has been changed to "These sudden joys have sudden endings."
- In an interview, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy said that the character of Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), and the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World inspired the creation of Dolores' look and her persona.
- Hosts (at least at the time of the events of episode one) must be authorized to use weapons. Teddy instructed Dolores how to fire a gun in The Stray, but she was unable to pull the trigger. However, when Dolores believed that Rebus was going to harm her in the Abernathy barn, she was able to shoot him in the neck two times.
- The name "Dolores" means "sorrows". The name is from the Spanish title of the Virgin Mary María de los Dolores, meaning "Mary of Sorrows". The Spanish word "dolores" derives from the Latin word "dolor" (meaning pain or grief). Dolores' loop often ends in grief when her parents are murdered. "Dolores" also seems a suitable name for her because, as Ford explains, Arnold suffered a great loss when his son died, and he created and nurtured Dolores to fill the void left by this loss. Arnold acted paternally towards Dolores, and guided her towards consciousness as a father would guide a child towards maturity.