Blood Meridian

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Sergeant Aguilar Character Analysis

A Mexican sergeant, Aguilar and his men investigate when Glanton creates a disturbance while testing the revolvers delivered by Speyer. The Judge warmly introduces Aguilar to each of the gang members and explains how one of the just-delivered revolvers works. After receiving some money and a handshake from the Judge, Sergeant Aguilar and his men ride off, leaving the scalp hunters to their business.

Sergeant Aguilar Quotes in Blood Meridian

The Blood Meridian quotes below are all either spoken by Sergeant Aguilar or refer to Sergeant Aguilar. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Blood Meridian published in 1992.
Chapter 7 Quotes

The judge smiled. It is not necessary, he said, that the principals here be in possession of the facts concerning their case, for their acts will ultimately accommodate history with or without their understanding. But it is consistent with notions of right principle that these facts…should find a repository in the witness of some third party. Sergeant Aguilar is just such a party and any slight to his office is but a secondary consideration when compared to divergences in that larger protocol exacted by the formal agenda of an absolute destiny. Words are things. The words he is in possession of he cannot be deprived of. Their authority transcends his ignorance of their meaning.

Related Characters: Judge Holden (speaker), The John Jacksons , Sergeant Aguilar
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

When the Judge introduces the Mexican Sergeant Aguilar to the gang on the outskirts of Chihuahua, he explains in Spanish the black Jackson's racial heritage at length—drawing on racist, false accounts of the inferiority of the black race presented in the Bible, Greek poetry, anthropology, and science. The black Jackson demands to know what's been said of him, and the Judge responds with the quote discussed here.

The Judge is saying, using legal terminology, that the black Jackson, one of "the principals" of the case at hand, doesn't himself need to know the facts of his own racial heritage, because his actions will be consistent with his alleged inferiority as a black man. However, the Judge also says that the facts need to find "a repository in the witness of some third party," that third party being Aguilar. For the Judge, truth must have witnesses before it can be truth at all; but the witnesses don't need to understand the truth for it to contribute to destiny. 

However, doesn't the so-called truth of black Jackson's inferiority to whites already have a third-party witness – namely, the Judge? Why does some random sergeant need to bear witness to it, too? It would seem that the Judge is merely trying to antagonize the black Jackson. The bigger irony here is that the so-called truth the Judge is propagating here isn't a truth at all, and so it has no authority outside of a merely social authority – a myth of Western society that nonetheless is held up by Western society as fact.


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Sergeant Aguilar Character Timeline in Blood Meridian

The timeline below shows where the character Sergeant Aguilar appears in Blood Meridian. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Fate Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...the Judge assure them, despite the dead animals, that everything is fine. A Mexican sergeant, Aguilar, is not convinced, but Judge Holden converses with him warmly and presents him to each... (full context)
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
The black Jackson ignores Aguilar’s attempts to shake hands, and he asks the Judge what he’s told Aguilar. The Judge... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...few smiles, a half-witted guffaw. The black Jackson is sweating. The Judge proceeds to show Aguilar one of the just-delivered pistols and carefully explains how it works. He then presents Aguilar... (full context)