hmm. good question in that it doesn’t have a good answer
on the one hand, i like her more than ~half of the dancestors, as she at least cares about something and makes an effort to be nice. i admire her intellect. she’s very good at what she does, regardless of what that is, which is chiefly why i suspect mindfang was among the better pirates in history. but on the other hand, she has a lot of issues with power.
her actions in the GO timeline, in particular, are why i don’t like her all that much. she makes machiavellian decisions and carelessly toys with others’ lives, but doesn’t have any real … reason for her brutalistic worldview except “personality.” she wants to make life better, in theory, but what lead her to this strict utilitarian calculus of believing in “kill X to save X+1″?
like the obvious counterpart to this argument is “but you like vriska and/or terezi and they also make pretty shit decisions” and you’re right! i like them both even though they make pretty some shit decisions. in part because of it. not insignificantly because they make shit decisions and recognize they do, and what’s more, have reasons for their decisionmaking mechanisms rooted in their childhood or life experiences. vriska is caustic because she had to adapt that persona to survive her mother’s abuse. terezi is manipulative because of her experiences sentencing others to punishment, and her core ideal of justice, which justifies manipulation insofar as it achieves a just end – and she even demonstrates ethical confusion nearer the end of the comic regarding that! aranea is manipulative and occasionally cruel because she’s power-hungry and single-mindedly dedicated to being the one to kill the baddie, which, while not necessarily an unjust goal, isn’t grounded in anything we know about her past.
we’re not sure how similar aranea’s and vriska’s lusii were, so if we got more info on that – or more about Beforus’ culture, its system of ethics, how Feferi ruled it – i might sympathize with her more. but as it is, she faces the same difficulty as the rest of the dancestors, which is that hussie tossed them all into the narrative with a massive expodump and still didn’t tell us enough about their world.