This article examines the ways sixteenth-century reports of cultural cannibalism among the Tupinamba of Brazil were employed strategically by Europeans and Brazilians in the contest for economic, spiritual, and cultural dominance in the Atlantic world. By focusing on the experience of captivity among the Tupinamba by Hans Staden of Germany, this essay also explores the use of the cannibal by one ordinary man, as he negotiated dangerous limitations on identity and free will in the context of Reformation and imperial battles to possess both bodies and souls.