Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vampires, demons, and other evil folk - the theme of Redemption in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Vampires in traditional lore • How to become a vampire… • Suicide victim • Unbaptised • Cursed by witch • Born with a caul (unclean) • No last rites • Improper burial ritual • 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 of traditional folklore not carried over into Buffy (with one exception!) • Causes of Vampirism reduced to one: sharing blood with a Vampire • NO RELIGIOUS CAUSES - SIN NOT A FACTOR • REDEMPTION POSSIBLE - MAJOR THEME 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 recursed with soul by Willow. • Fights for good, to redeem self from centuries of evil. • Gets own spin-off show, to continue search for redemption!
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 finale of Buffy - Buffy 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”
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 finale.
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.
Redemption - Andrew • One of “The Trio” - geeky humans, super villains. • Gay character, in love with Warren. • Betrays, murders best friend Jonathan, when The First Evil tells him to, while looking like Warren. • Redeems himself in finale storyline, tears of remorse, fighting on side of good. • Outward expression of repentence necessary? • Fights supernatural evil, finds redemption on own merits.
Redemption - Willow • Best friend to Buffy, kind, gentle… turned to evil on murder of her lover, Tara, by Warren. • Murders Warren (nasty!) • Attempts to destroy the world • Redeemed by Xander’s love. Christian allusions here? Xander as Christ? • Pays penance - confronts own fears of evil power in finale episode.
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 Angel? • Returns for finale of Buffy, fights against evil for good.