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View Full Version : Did Buffy commit suicide in The Gift?



bespangled
26-03-18, 06:37 AM
I say yes. She jumped to save the world - but she also jumped to save herself the pain of losing Dawn, of having one more thing stripped away..


BUFFY
I sacrificed Angel to save the world.
I loved him so much... but I knew.
What was right. I don't have that
any more. I don't understand.
I don't know how to live in this world,
if these are the choices, if everything's
just stripped away then I don't see
the point. I just wish... I wish my
mom was here...
The spirit guide told me that Death
was my gift. I guess that means a
Slayer really is just a killer after all.

GILES
I think you're wrong about that.

BUFFY
It doesn't matter. If Dawn dies,
then I'm done with it. I'm quitting.


She was faced with the choice of quitting slaying, or quitting a life that was increasingly painful, and meaningless.

Sineya had already told her that death was her gift.

PRIMITIVE
You're afraid that being the Slayer
means losing your humanity.

BUFFY
Does it?

PRIMITIVE
You are full of love. You love with all
of your soul. It's brighter than the fire,
blinding. That's why you pull away
from it.

BUFFY
I'm full of love? I'm not losing it?

PRIMITIVE
Only if you reject it. Love is pain
and the Slayer forges strength from pain.

PRIMITIVE
Love. Give. Forgive. Risk the pain.
It is your nature. Love will bring
you to your gift.

BUFFY
What? I'm sorry, but I'm just not
getting this. I'm full of love.
Which is nice to know. And then…
love will lead me to my gift?

PRIMITIVE
Yes.

BUFFY
I'm getting a gift? Or do you mean
I have a gift to give to someone else?

PRIMITIVE
Death is your gift.

She realized while up on the tower that it was a gift for her, as much as it was from her. It was a release from the feelings she brought to Sineya - and an escape that all slayers came to eventually need. Spike said that every slayer had a death wish.

SPIKE
Every day you wake up it's the
same bloody question what
haunts you: Is today the day
I die? It's a warrior's pain, a
warrior's question and you
ask it......every time the sun rises. And
every day you manage to survive,
you're only partly relieved because
you know - it's just a matter of time.

Death is on your heels baby - and,
sooner or later, it's going to catch you...
And some part of you wants it.
Not only to stop the fear and the
uncertainty - but because you're
just a little bit in love with it.

Death is your art. You make it
with your hands, day after day.
That final gasp, that look of peace...
Part of you is desperate to know...
What's it like? Where does it
lead you? That's also a warrior's
question. A warrior's curiosity.
So you see, that's the secret.
Not the punch she didn't throw
or the kick she didn't land. She
simply wanted it. Every Slayer
has a death wish.

SPIKE
Even you.

I am in no way diminishing her sacrifice to save Dawn, and the world. But she was burned out, exhausted and in so much pain she could no longer afford to feel. She no longer had her mother to help her with the normal responsibilities. Her father figure wanted her to kill her younger sister. Even if she let Dawn jump, she had nothing more to give the world that had taken everything away.

She jumped to save the world, but she jumped because she was finished, because it was a chance for the peace of oblivion.

[Personal note - I'm having some medical issues which limit computer time. I wish I could be here more. :wave:]

GoSpuffy
26-03-18, 06:59 AM
Yes but no. Suicide is killing yourself because you want to die. Buffy sacrificed herself for Dawn. That's a bit more noble to my mind.

bespangled
26-03-18, 07:07 AM
Buffy wanted to save Dawn - and she wanted to die, IMO. We know she would have jumped to save the world even if it meant her life because she has made that choice. The difference is that this time she made it with a smile on her face. She was ready.

TriBel
26-03-18, 10:10 AM
If I have to come down off the fence, I'd say yes it was suicide - then I'd jump back on the fence and say it was a sacrificial act.

I think we have to see Joyce as a shadowy figure here (Buffy, like Spike, "made a promise to a lady" that involved protecting Dawn). I don't read Buffy's depression as "clinical depression", I read it as melancholia - a failure in the mourning process. We know from Intervention that Buffy's having two problems - problems Warren describes in Dead Things as "The Slayer and the body". She fears being the Slayer is killing her internally "turning me into stone". she fears Joyce wasn't aware "now my mom is gone ... and I loved her more than anything ... and ... I don't know if she knew". It's why she says in Touched "Being the slayer made me different. But it's my fault I stayed that way. People are always trying to connect to me, and I just slip away". Failure to mourn is "her fault" but it's also Giles' fault. He seeks a solution for her but in the wrong place (in the Slayer's past - not Buffy's past). From this point on I think we see Giles making the wrong decision for the right reason. This culminates in S7 Giles (S7 Giles in not OOC - it's the logical conclusion of his character). Buffy's state of mind in S6 relates to this trauma - being pulled from heaven is simply a repetition of losing her mother (which is a repetition of an earlier loss).

To cut a long story short, from a psychoanalytical perspective death can be seen as a "return to the mother" (the mother is both womb/tomb - she represents a condition of nothingness). Storywise - I think it's possible to read her act as selfless; subtextually, I think it's clear it's self-ish - she cedes to her desire to be without a self (as bespangled implies). Isn't it her "to be or not to be" moment? I think we have a similar predicament with Spike's death at the end.

Silver1
26-03-18, 10:18 AM
Imo It's a little from pile A) and pile B), but as the years go on I think at this point she'd had enough and wanted out.


sacrificed Angel to save the world.
I loved him so much... but I knew.
What was right. I don't have that
any more. I don't understand.
I don't know how to live in this world,
if these are the choices, if everything's
just stripped away then I don't see
the point. I just wish... I wish my
mom was here.

Priceless
26-03-18, 11:18 AM
I'm going to agree with everyone else. Buffy jumped off the tower, knowing the probability was that she would die, so that was suicide. But it could be considered the same as a soldier going into a battle. The chances are that he will not survive, but he does it anyway. Perhaps Buffy's training upto this point has been about sacrifice, it's what she's been taught to do and so she does it, just like the good soldier she is. But who know's what's going on in her head, maybe she thinks she'll be saved, that some sort of magic or the PTB will rescue her.

Fool for Buffy
26-03-18, 09:54 PM
A soldier diving on a bomb to save others is not suicide, rather knowingly sacrificing your life for the benefit of others. That's what Buffy did. She was despressed at the time, there is no doubt, but I think it's disrespectful to her to say she died because she was depressed and couldn't handle life.

bespangled
27-03-18, 02:02 AM
A soldier diving on a bomb to save others is not suicide, rather knowingly sacrificing your life for the benefit of others. That's what Buffy did. She was despressed at the time, there is no doubt, but I think it's disrespectful to her to say she died because she was depressed and couldn't handle life.

Why is it disrespectful to acknowledge that Buffy was ready to die?

I am not saying that Buffy would have committed suicide regardless - that would be disrespectful.

And I think it's disrespectful to ignore what Buffy said about her life - I knew. What was right. I don't have that any more. I don't understand. I don't know how to live in this world, if these are the choices, if everything's just stripped away then I don't see the point. Her weakness, her confusion, her pain all deserve to be respected.

She was serene and eager to jump - she embraced death. This wasn't a knee jerk reaction to an immediate threat - it was a well considered choice to die.

That's a thread that runs through the entire season - Buffy is being stripped of everything that matters to her. There's a reason that Spike explains all slayers have a death wish, and there's plenty of evidence Buffy has reached the end of her rope. If she dies she can avoid the pain of losing the one person left that she cares about, and she has lost so much this season.

As much as her death was a gift to Dawn, and to the world, it was also a gift to Buffy herself. It was a way out. Yes, depression can be situational - we see that in season 6. Situational depression is an understandable response t what Buffy has endured this past year. Wanting to make the pain end isn't shameful.

ghoststar
27-03-18, 03:27 AM
Technically, killing yourself is suicide regardless of one's motivations, so what we see in "The Gift" qualifies. Unlike in most of her battles (where she merely puts herself in danger, and death would be an unintended side effect), her tactic is to die, and to thereby confuse the portal's senses... requirements... whatever into thinking it had sucked all the life out of Dawn.

On a psychological and philosophical level, I do think that Buffy is never meant to live past this point, and her Slayer senses know it. There was an abundance of foreshadowing throughout the season, especially in "Fool for Love" and "Intervention," which suggested that Slayers do, as Buffy says in "Fool for Love," have an expiration date. In hindsight, I think this means that her death was a matter of destiny, rather than just the statistically likely result of being in multiple dangerous situations. The First Slayer tells her it's her "gift." Buffy is happy when she jumps to her death, she goes to Heaven when she dies, and she's miserable when she returns. Bringing her back lets the First Evil back into the world. She fails utterly to stop the major villains of season 6, and, while she tries to lead in season 7, she loses all of her troops but Spike and only wins by replacing the traditional Slayer lineage with something new. Everything points to the idea that, at some point, a given Slayer is meant to be gone. I don't know if the forces that want her gone are good or evil or in between; from a long-term perspective, sweetening the pot with a blissful afterlife may make wanting her killed no later than a given moment no worse than wanting her Called into such a dangerous life in the first place. Still, I think that somehow the Slayer magic interacts with our timeline to require her death. During the last two seasons, it's almost as if events are conspiring to make her actions in Sunnydale as irrelevant as possible-- something that she fights heroically, but that she shouldn't have to. Perhaps she undoes the Slayer's destined expiration date when by quitting being the Slayer, singular. Perhaps not. If not, I'm inclined to think that Anya is right, albeit blunt, when she states that everyone would've been better off if they'd left Buffy dead.

GoSpuffy
27-03-18, 03:55 AM
Technically it is suicide BUT she is dying for someone other than herself so it isn't what we think of suicide, killing yourself as its own purpose. I think it is more like the throwing yourself on a hand grenade type thing. She didn't want to die, she was willing to die in place of her sister. The Devils in the details.

bespangled
27-03-18, 08:27 AM
Technically it is suicide BUT she is dying for someone other than herself so it isn't what we think of suicide, killing yourself as its own purpose. I think it is more like the throwing yourself on a hand grenade type thing. She didn't want to die, she was willing to die in place of her sister. The Devils in the details.

Yes, she died to save Dawn and the world - no question there.

How she felt about dying is the part that's kind of up for interpretation. I think part of her did want to die - that she was finished. I also think that makes her resurrection in season 6 even more difficult for her.

GoSpuffy
27-03-18, 04:45 PM
If Glory had been defeated and Buffy was standing on top of the structure would she have jumped? My feeling is no so I do not consider it suicide. For me it was death in combat.

flow
27-03-18, 07:09 PM
The definition for suicide is - according to Wikipedia - "the act of intentionally causing one's own death".

This definition does not differ between motives, for example, if you cause your own death because you want to die or because you want to save soemone else. By that definition Buffy did commit suicide. Death in combat on the other hand would not qualify as suicide, because if you go into a fight, you might be in danger of dying but you usually hope that you won`t and you fight to not die.

But if the question is, would Buffy jumepd from that tower, had it not been necessary to save the world or spare Dawn to sacrifice her life, my answer is no, she never would have.

She told Dawn, she has to live. She told her, it won`t be easy, but that it is something, she simply has to do. That is Buffy`s inner belief. You have to go on living. And she herself would have gone on. She might have been exhausted and numb at the end of season 5. But even in season 6, when she was in a much darker place, she never ever thought for a second about committing suicide.

Buffy would never give up. She would never ever give up.

flow