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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Evil and Redemption in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Evil and Redemption in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Vampires in traditional lore •  How to become a vampire…"

–  Suicide victim (unforgiveable sin)"–  Unbaptised (original sin)"–  Cursed by witch (heresy = sin)"–  Born with a caul (unclean, mark of sin)"–  No last rites (died without forgiveness of sins)"–  Improper burial ritual (violation of power of liturgy)"–  Being bitten by vampire (contagion)"

•  Most causes related to religious beliefs - need for rituals to transfer soul from body to heaven; to cleanse soul of sin."

•  Historical Christian beliefs about resurrection included bodily resurrection - body and soul reunited - vampire = body resurrected without soul due to sin, spiritual uncleanliness."

•  Vampires = evil opposite of Christ (died, resurrected after 3 days, rise bodily from the grave"

•  Vampires as totally evil - unredeemable - no soul, no salvation."

Vampires in traditional lore

•  Characteristics of traditional Vampires:"–  Don’t breathe "–  Are pale, cool, to touch (no heartbeat) "–  Can transform into wolves or bats or

smoke"–  Cast no shadow, cannot be filmed"–  Cannot enter a house unless invited."–  Sleep during the day, cannot abide

sunlight. "–  Must sleep on their native soil."–  Are hurt/killed by garlic, and all things

sacred (e.g., holy water , a crucifix , a rosary, or sacred objects from other faiths ). "

–  Can be killed by a wooden stake through the heart, or decapitation ."

Vampires in Buffy •  Vampires in Buffy are very “traditional” - killed by stake, decapitation; cool, pale, can’t abide sunlight, etc.

•  Need for native soil, ability to transform into wolves, etc. are elements NOT carried over into Buffy (with one exception - Buffy vs Dracula, Season 5)

•  Causes of Vampirism reduced to one: sharing blood with a Vampire

•  No religious causes - sin not a factor •  Redemption is possible - major

religious theme in Buffy •  - a soul is necessary - redemption is

religious in essence in Buffy

Redemption - Angel

•  Love interest of Buffy. •  Vampire cursed with a soul by

Gypsies. •  Loses soul after “one moment of

complete happiness” - sex with Buffy.

•  Evil again until re-cursed with a soul by Willow.

•  Fights for good, to redeem self from centuries of evil.

•  Gets own spin-off show, to continue search for redemption!

•  Themes: Redemptive power of love; need for “soul;” redemption through sacrifice?

Redemption - Spike

•  First enemy, then reluctant ally of Buffy, later love interest.

•  Poet, mamma’s boy in life, “William the bloody” in death.

•  Love interest of Drusilla. •  Becomes ally of Buffy when “the

Initiative” places computer chip in his brain that prevents him from harming humans.

•  Later, goes in search of a soul, because he loves Buffy.

•  Gives his life to destroy evil in the finale of Buffy.

•  Themes: Redemption through individual choice. Redemptive power of love. Buffy as arbiter of redemption?

Demons - Christian mythos •  War in heaven, rebellion against God,

subdued by Michael; cast into Hell; Lucifer (Satan) ruler of Hell; allowed by God to tempt human beings into sin.

•  Demon = fallen angel, one who chooses not to follow God.

•  Can possess human beings; can be cast out by exorcism rituals

•  Unredeemable - servants of Satan, evil in essence, no salvation (unless possibly at the end of time)

Demons in Buffy •  Incorporeal creature from

another dimension; can possess dead human body that has tasted vampire blood.

•  Corporeal creatures from other dimensions - usually evil - desire to suck our world into theirs, make our world “hell”

•  First occupants of our world, gradually left/were forced out of our world, making way for humans.

Demons in Buffy II

•  Corporeal creatures from other dimensions, not particularly good or evil - demons as “just folk.”

•  No theological implications to being a demon from Hell dimension- not a place of separation from God, just another place.

•  No association with God, rebellion in Heaven, tempting souls into sin, punishment by God, etc.

Redemption - Anya •  Human turned vengeance

demon, turned human against her will by Buffy.

•  Episode “The Wish.” •  Xander’s love interest. •  Turns to evil again when

Xander leaves her at the altar. •  Remorse, willingness to give

life, returns her to human. •  Sacrifices life in fight against

evil in the finale. •  Themes: evil = selfishness,

redemption = sacrifice

Human beings and free will •  Human beings free to choose

evil or good. •  Evil choices not permanent -

evil can be redeemed. •  “The Trio” - only “big bad”

in Buffy that is human. •  Warren = unrepentant, evil -

rapist, murderer -death as punishment.

•  Jonathan - repentant for complicity in murder of woman, slain by Andrew.

From left to right: Warren, Jonathan, Andrew

Redemption - Andrew •  One of “The Trio” - geeky humans,

super villains. •  Gay character, in love with Warren -

manipulated by The First through love. •  Betrays, murders best friend Jonathan,

when The First Evil (as Warren) tells him to - the Devil made me do it?

•  Redeems himself in finale storyline, tears of remorse, fighting on side of good.

•  Themes: Despite supernatural influence, personal responsibility for evil cannot be denied. Outward expression of repentance necessary?

•  Fights supernatural evil, finds redemption on own merits.

Redemption - Faith

•  Second Slayer, indirectly called when Buffy dies at end of season one.

•  Lonely, traumatized, rebel, free-spirit, lots of attitude.

•  Kills human accidentally, turns to evil, joins “the Mayor”.

•  Buffy wounds, tries to kill her. •  Redemption largely worked out

on spin-off series “Angel.” •  Returns for finale of Buffy, fights

against evil for good.

Redemption - Willow •  Best friend to Buffy, kind,

gentle… turned to evil on murder of her lover Tara by Warren.

•  Murders Warren •  Attempts to destroy the world to ‘end the suffering.’

•  Redeemed by Xander’s love. Christian allusions here? Xander as Christ? “The carpenter”?

•  Themes: Love redeems - love of friends, family - this-worldly emphasis.

•  Pays penance - confronts own fears of evil power in finale episode.

Series Finale

•  Series finale highlights stories of redemption. •  Except for Angel (who works out own redemption on his

spin-off series), most major ‘in-need-of-redemption’ characters are “redeemed” here - Spike, Faith, Willow, Anya, Andrew

•  Buffy as “Christ” - savior, redeemer - also highlighted here (we will discuss this next time)