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Angel and Oedipus

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  • Angel and Oedipus

    Not even sure where I want to go with this thread. Maybe others have something interesting to say.

    But there is something about the character Angel and relations where a parental figure is also a lover. He has been the child (with Darla), the parent (with Dru) and in one case the father who watched his son having sex with the mother-figure. Which raises the question: why?

    At first I thought that the Connor/Cordy stuff was a coincidence and the other examples were a vampire thing: the sire functions as a parent but in some cases a vampire sires somebody because they want a mate. So two kind of relations blend together. But we don't see this all that often. We've seen other vampire couples and none of them (but the ones with Angel & Darla) have the strong parent-child undertones. And there is the Master who sired Darla and considered her a daughter, but that relation was never romantic.

    In the case of Dru I could blame it on her. She likes to play the child and Angelus (& Darla) are the most natural parental figures. But they also take that role upon them. Even in Ats s2 when Dru is the sire, Darla takes care of Dru like a mother. Also, Darla and Angelus picked and made her together (even if Angelus did the actual biting), unlike most vampires who are sired by only one person.

    And the parental undertones in their own relation never stop. It starts from the first moment on when Liam is turned by drinking from her breast and when he rises from the grave, he looks at her for approval when he is about to kill his first victim. She continues to call him 'my (dear) boy' till the very end and both Dru and the Roma girl were picked by Darla. Like a mother who needs to feed her child.

    It's such an odd recurring theme.

  • #2
    It's such an odd recurring theme.
    I haven't read what others have written (ha...just realised no-one has written anything) but I don't think it's "odd" - IMO, it's absolutely fundamental both to Angel and BtVS.

    In Angel's case, I think the father is a more important figure than the mother (she's still significant - as you say she's there in Darla) but I think what determines his history is Liam's relationship with his dad. It's an Oedipal conflict. With Spike (because there was no father figure), it's an unresolved Oedipal complex (Dru is his other mother and Angel his surrogate father). Buffy's case is slightly different (because she's female).

    In a normal situation, the child takes the mother as his/her first love. Under threat of castration, the male child gives the mother up and transfers his affections to the father (he wants to be the father) while at the same time he represses a desire to kill the father (for separating him from the plenitude the mother represents). The problem with Angel is we never see his real mother. What we find out in A11 is the battle is over his sister, Kathy. Is it a coincidence that his first interest in LA is Kate? Is it a coincidence he comes into conflict with her father? No. Doesn't Kate think he's killed her dad?

    I'll look over what you've written and comment. Have you read A11?

    Last edited by TriBel; 23-06-20, 07:24 PM.


    • #3
      It definitely isn't helped by the vampire nomenclature - calling any newly turned vampire their boy or girl. In season two of Buffy, when Angelus manages to kick the soul out, he refers to Spike as "Spike, my boy!"

      Don't mistake me. I do love the ladies. It's just lately... I've been wondering...
      (holds his own fist in the beam of sunlight)
      what it'd be like...
      (watches his hand sizzle)
      to share the slaughter of innocents... with another man.
      (turns his hand over so the palm is in the light now; looks admiringly at it as it smokes)
      Don't... don't think that makes me some kind of a deviant, hmm?
      (pulls his hand back close to his face)
      Do you?

      I think deviance is something of a goal for Angelus. He wants to create this incestuous family group because it is deviant in human terms. He took a seer nun and created a vampire who desires to be tortured as foreplay. She took a virgin poet, and handed him over to her Daddy.

      Yes, there's some Oedipal issues but there are far more human sexual deviations going on.
      Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.


      • #4
        He wants to create this incestuous family group because it is deviant in human terms.
        I'm not disagreeing but think it's slightly more complicated than that. Oedipus isn't in itself deviant. In fact for Freud, it's the basis of society. The thing with it is, it's unconscious. The child's desires/fantasies are repressed. Crudely, the child wants to sleep with the mother and kill the father. It represses these desires and, in the case of the male child, emulates the father. Now take William. William does kill his mother - doesn't he claim she was coming on to him? If so, I don't think this is true. I think he kills her because she SPEAKS his desire. He's horrified - that which should be hidden is brought to light. It's the uncanny. He then goes on to emulate his surrogate father - Angelus - and sleeps with his "other mother" Dru. What's deviant about it (and uncanny about it) is - it's human unconscious desire they're carrying out. It's pure Id.

        Angelus is slightly different (more complicated). Darla is his "other mother". However, Dru, because he turns her, is his "daughter"...doesn't he approach her by pretending to be a Catholic priest - a father - and, by virtue of the fact that she's about to take Holy Orders, she's also a sister - a daughter/sister he corrupts. Liam's father wanted to keep Kathy away from Liam (in a sense keep her for himself). So, it seems to me, by taking Dru, Angelus is indulging himself in both his own unconscious desires (as son/brother) and those of his father (a bad father who castrated/punished him. It's only later when he returns to Galway with Fred that he recalls a good father who loved him). This perversion is there as Angelus and the desire's displaced/disguised when he's Angel. Even the battle for Conner is a battle between the good father (the one the child wants to emulate) and the bad father (the one the child wants to kill). That's before you throw the surrogate mother, Cordy, into the mix. In this instance, the child does get to take the mother. I haven't worded this well - I'm tired - I'll change it in the morning. Oh...Spike beating him in Destiny...the son finally gets to "kill" the father.
        Last edited by TriBel; 24-06-20, 02:53 AM.