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Souls in the 'verse.

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  • Souls in the 'verse.

    In the "Spike Pre-Soul: Good or Evil?" returned this classic subject. So why not open a thread about it and maybe we can collect all the quotes and prove about souls in the 'verse here and discuss what it all means.

    What I can remember about 'the soul' in both series.


    Angel: Romany. Gypsies. The elders conjured the perfect punishment for me. They restored my soul.

    Buffy: What, they were all out of boils and blinding torment?

    Angel: When you become a vampire the demon takes your body, but it doesn't get your soul. That's gone! No conscience, no remorse... It's an easy way to live. You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I've done... and to care. I haven't fed on a living human being
    since that day.
    • Angel says 'my soul', this means that everybody has a soul of his/her own ...
    • And he describes what happens with you without a soul, he says no conscience and no remorse. Nothing about changing personalities or part of the personality being gone.


    Judge: This one... cannot be burnt. He is clean. (removes his hand)

    Spike: Clean? You mean, he's...

    Judge: There's no humanity in him.
    • Angel without a soul lost all his humanity.

    "Becoming part 1"
    Gypsy Man: You don't remember... everything you've done for a hundred years. In a moment, you will. The face of everyone you killed... our daughter's face... they will haunt you, and you will know what true suffering is.

    Angel: Killed? I, I don't...
    • It takes a minute before Angel gets what he did. Ne see the same in "Becoming part 2" only longer, but in "Orpheus" he doesn't need a minute. An inconstancy or is there more?

    Giles: Um, well, this, um... certainly points the way, but... the ritual itself requires a greater knowledge of the black arts than I, I, I can claim.

    Willow: Well, I've been going through her files and, and researching the black arts, for fun, or educational fun, and I may be able to work this.
    • Not really important but I think that it's interesting that restoring a soul a black magic thing is.

    Xander: So this spell might restore Angel's humanity?
    • Xander says here that a soul is the same as humanity.

    Willow: (appalled) It's horrible! That's me as a vampire? (Angel closes the door) I'm so evil and... skanky. (aside to Buffy, worried) And I think I'm kinda gay.

    Buffy: (reassuringly) Willow, just remember, a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was.

    Angel: (without thinking) Well, actually... (gets a look from Buffy) That's a good point.
    • Clearly, the personality of a vampire has a lot to do with the human they once were. So the soul left, butsomething stayed what is for a big influence on the vampire.

    "After Life"
    BUFFY: (still looking down) I was happy.

    Spike looks at her in confusion.

    BUFFY: Wherever I ... was ... I was happy. At peace.

    Spike stares, shocked.

    BUFFY: I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time ... didn't mean anything ... nothing had form ... but I was still me, you know? (glances at him, then away) And I was warm ... and I was loved ... and I was finished. Complete. I don't understand about theology or dimensions, or ... any of it, really ... but I think I was in heaven.

    Spike continues to stare at her in dismay.

    BUFFY: And now I'm not. (almost tearful) I was torn out of there. Pulled out ... by my friends. (Spike continues staring, listening) Everything here is ... hard, and bright, and violent. Everything I feel, everything I touch ... this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that ... (softly) knowing what I've lost...
    • Buffy's soul went to heaven, not her body. Still remembers where she was and what she was feeling. Can souls have memories as well?

    [to be continued ... I need to go]

  • #2
    Nice subject, the soul is one of the big inconsistencies in the show. And is usually why there's so much back and forth on wether or not Angel and Angelus are two different individuals mentally, or the same individual, only one lacking a moral compass. Honestly, I don't care what anyone claims, IMO both sides have enough evidence to point either way, and I don't think anyone can deny that when the quotes are supplied right in front of them. There's no right or wrong here.

    There's great debate wether or not the soul is the person or if it's just the moral compass of the person.

    Arguments Saying It Is The Person:

    * As Nina states, Buffy's soul went to heaven, her essence went to heaven. Not only does Buffy confirm this in 'Afterlife' but Willow states the same thing in 'Bargaining Part I.' Willow's spell involved putting Buffy's soul back into her corpse. Buffy's soul was torn out of heaven. Buffy's soul isn't just a moral compass, it was who she was.

    * Both Angel and Spike, who claim to be "experts" on the subject state in 'Shells' that "it's the soul that matters." And that Fred's soul is "out there somewhere." They wanted to put Fred's soul back into her body after Illyria hollows her out. In doing so they believe they will bring back Fred. In their opinion the soul isn't just a moral compass it's the actual person. Basically the same deal as Buffy in season six.

    * Jasmine, a higher power, believes that Angelus is inside Angel, dormant and that he can be banished.

    * Angelus' mind isn't wiped by the spell to forget the Beast because it wasn't the one running the show, whereas Angel's was because he was the person on the surface.

    *Angel describes himself as always underneath in Angel, but as a different individual in 'Orpheus.' He describes having to live through all of Angel's deeds and how much he hated living through them, unable to influence Angel's decisions but having to ?watch' them.

    *The Beast Master threatens Angelus that he'll put Angel's soul back, and that again Angelus will be lying their in dormant, unable to act. He hits Angelus where it hurts because he knows this is true, he's been this way ever since Willow put his soul back the first time, and he agrees to do what the Beast Master wishes.

    *Buffy tells Ford that when sired, he's gone and that a demon sets up shop in his own body and that it walks and talks and act likes you but it isn't. If we apply this to the same reasoning behind Buffy and Fred's souls, Ford's soul along with everyone else's leaves the body, it's who they are, and the demon sets up shop.

    ~ Banner by Nina ~


    • #3
      I think it's important to remember that in the Jossverse, especially, a word like "soul" is not a term of art, it needn't have a fixed and specific meaning across the whole of the Buffyverse. Indeed, the very inconsistencies that are being pointed to are evidence that it was not intended to have a big TOE to explain it.

      In the case of vampires, it's always been pretty clearly a "moral conscience", not a separate metaphysical entity. Angel is Angelus with a conscience and a capacity for guilt, and all references to dormant, trapped, yadda yadda yadda, are all social contrivance and metaphor, up to and including the visual metaphor in "Orpheus". If this weren't true, the episode "Eternity" could not exist, the curse itself would be utterly incoherent, and Angel would be the least self-aware character on either series.

      In other contexts, it's meant other things -- the self, the identity, the anima, such as in the case of Fred in "Shells". But, it's also been used in its vampiric context with Buffy in "Living Conditions", as she was stripped of her moral self.

      There's just no way to attach a single meaning to the soul in the Buffyverse -- the only answer that holds up is that it means different things in different situations.
      Banner by LRae12


      • #4
        Yeah, KoC is right even Joss more or less confirmed that. The truth is in context with Angel's story, it served a function and with Spike's of course it served another.

        The original story of the vampire is that it's not the former human but the thing that killed them. This of course made the idea of killing them less ambiguous as killing sentient beings on the daily basis, especially those we can relate to and understand would be a little icky. However, Joss' vampires are all too human and in the context of the soulled vampire story, the soul seems to object of possession rather than holding the central part of a person identity (pushing aside the concept of the memories being the essential part of the person's identity.

        Perhaps, like in real life, in the verse there are several metaphysical theories pertaining to identity and of course these are subject to the experience of those who are brave enough to scrutinize and I'd be remiss to forget the subjective exeprience of being who have lost souls.

        One case to which I've referred before is Ryan Anderson. Now I'd considered this evidence of what I've often called 'Theory 2' in terms of the soul, i.e. the soul as conscience.

        Under theory 1 (soul as person) it doesn't seem to make sense as, without a soul, essentially he would either be a lifeless corpse or a zombie without a consciousness, which doesn't seem to describe him aptly at all.

        Theory 2 seems to fit wonderfully here. A boy without a conscience, like a vampire except without the demon (well with a demon but you know what I mean), but can theory 1 make a come back in this case? Well of course we're assuming that the Ethros demon was talking literally (for another problematic case see the Judge vs Angelus). He may have meant that he believed he lacked normal human qualities that would pertain to the soul. In other words, sure the boy had a soul but appears to be displaying anti-social behaviour, without any apparent remorse. He would be no different from Hauser, Corbin Fries, Vanessa Brewer, the McNamara brothers etc. I suppose this is what Cordy meant when she said, some human people are just awful, but perhaps under theory 1 there is no metaphysical difference between them.

        Can the two theories be reconciled? Well Btvs and Ats seem to be shows that support a dualist slant so either way there is definitely a spirit of some sort but the real issue is there a seperate bit of conscience that can be locked away in a jar? Maybe the soul as spirit is something that is generally that is inextricably linked with it's own finer qualities but also something that can stripped of those qualities, leaving only memories, certain feelings and a consciousness.

        Whether or not a being a capable of real altruistic good without the finer qualities of the soul is maybe something that I'll discuss in the other thread.


        • #5
          IMO the concept of the soul is not very clear in the Buffyverse, sometimes it refers to the essence of a person, sometimes it's a moral compass. There's not clear definition, and honestly I don't think the writers really thought enough about it.

          I mean, if what Buffy said to Ford is true, and when a person is turn into a vampire, the soul leaves the body and it's replace with a demon, then what? the soul goes away to heaven or what? what happens with that soul that is gone? In that case, the soul is Who a person is. Angel is one being and Angelus is a complete different one. But Harmony doesn't seem to fit that concept, she's pretty much the same as vampire as she was when human and had a soul.

          Then again, Angel sometimes has a bit of Angelus in him too. And well, if we follow that theory what about Spike? I suppose in his case, Spike is not William, so it was Spike (the demon inside William's body) who fell inlove with Buffy? Not William then. And what happened when he got his soul back? He became William once again? So, in that case, neither Angel nor William could be held responsible for what Angelus and Spike have done. And well, that doesn't make any sense to me, and we all know that they don't feel like that, they do feel responsible.

          I think that maybe you can't separate the soul from the monster, maybe when a person becomes a vampire, doesn't exactly losses the soul, maybe the soul, the person the human was, is corrupted by the demon, but never really goes away.

          Personally, I think a soul is part of who you are, and is your moral compass too. You can't be separated from it never, and no existing being could be without a soul, even the evil ones. But that's my very personal belief, I do not expect anyone to agree with this.
          Hellmouth Tourist
          Last edited by lara; 22-06-08, 10:19 PM.
          avatar credit: me!!


          • #6
            Originally posted by Nina View Post
            Clearly, the personality of a vampire has a lot to do with the human they once were. So the soul left, buts omething stayed what is for a big influence on the vampire.
            This process of removing a soul without natural cause being black magic proves that it's something that is unlawful in the eyes of the 'Powers That Be'. It insinuates that the 'Powers That Be' created humans as the mixture of the good and evil, so serve some higher balance of order.
            This idea takes me 'back to the beginning', so to speak, in my research:

            "This world is older than any of you know. Contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons demons walked the Earth. They made it their home, their...their Hell. But in time, they lost their purchase on this reality. The way was made for mortal animals, for, for man. All that remains of the Old Ones are vestiges, certain magicks, certain creatures..."
            (Giles - The Harvest)

            Anya tells the scoobies in Graduation Day Pt.1, that the demon races that exist on Earth today are hybridized with humans and other species. If we continue on the route that humans are essentially constituted with good and evil parts; a soul and perhaps some 'demon' apsect. It shows that all species are related, and it's just evolution which has allowed for pure demons to become 'tainted' demons and humans. Perhaps as a result of biological warfare. Since Giles says the books claim that the last of the Old Ones to leave this reality fed off of a human, mixing their blood, and that formed the first vampire. Seems like a virus to me? Or am i just going all Blade on you all...
            However, Illyria does dispute this as she claims vampires were around when she was.

            Humans which have their conscience/humanity which enables them to choose between actions they can make and the effect they have on people. It can also be argued that there are different degrees of 'potency' of good or evil, depending on whether you want to see good, i.e. a conscience, as the diluter, or evil, i.e. demons. That why there are more vicious demons and humans which do bad things. It's their inherent capability for evil, dictated by their 'inner demon' which in turn dictates the actions they perform.

            well, i'm all wrung out and slightly breathless. i hope i made sense here.

            Hellmouth Tourist
            Last edited by Fehmina; 22-06-08, 10:55 PM. Reason: reworded a little bit
            "Blue in the face with a choking regret."