Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Is it fair to judge vampires?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is it fair to judge vampires?

    The humans/watcher's/slayers are essentially judging vampires and preemptively killing them for taking human life to survive and on the assumption that this is what they will do. As viewers we're placed into the position by the show to see this as morally justifiable and to be on the side of the humans. But essentially it is deeming one being's survival over the other as being right. Is the fact that it isn't necessary for a vampire to kill to survive justification enough for taking this line? If vampires simply view us as cattle, they obviously aren't doing anything wrong by their own judgment? Is it taking pleasure in the killing and the fact the kill isn't needed that makes it unacceptable? But is it right to judge vampires morally and kill them within that perspective? Should it just be viewed more like a war of opposing sides? Is the predictability that eventually a soulless vampire would choose to betray/kill good enough to decide they have no right to live?

  • #2
    I think it kind of brings us back to the "are vampires serial killers" issue, and the answer would be yes but no ?
    On the one hand, they kill primarily to feed. It is instinctive and they have no incentive to try alternative feeding sources, because they are not human and aren't doing anything counter natural by feeding on prey. On the other hand, they are part human and mostly share a distorted version of the same feelings and desires, and the way they specifically seem to enjoy inflicting pain goes beyond the mere feeding imperative.
    I think from a doylist perspective Whedon"s original vision did not in any shape or form include vampires as part of the "emotional heart/resonance" of the show. They were metaphors for rl issues that you have to face and eventually overcome. Then the network/Greenwalt/whoever came up with Angel. Ok, we're gonna make Angel a souled vampire, so we can have our cake and eat it too. Without his soul, he is just another vampire and needs to be taken down. Then Spike & Drusilla come along, and we introduce the idea that they (and others like Dalton) have some humanity in them. And as the series progresses, we get more and more shades of grey and more and more diversity among the vamp characters, and we have the divide between the developed vampires (whom we are meant to empathize with to an extent), and the redshirt vampires (who are here to provide action, raise the stakes, etc..). In theory, I can totally see some of the vamps who belong in the latter category as being able to restrain themselves from killing given the proper motivation. Hell, we have the whole vamp brothel storyline as this whole grey area. I think we are just meant to accept that, for the sake of the story, we cannot afford to dwell on this particular issue, because it opens a can of worms that the writers weren't interested in and that would stray from the themes that they wanted to explore. We could argue that it was unintentionally addressed via Spike's storyline in S4-S6, where the fan reactions varied from "Why doesn't Buffy stake him already" to "She is using him as a punching bag and it feels wrong".In-story, I'd say that Buffy simply cannot afford asking herself this question. She is doing preventive work, she protects what she feels would be otherwise inevitable victims. The amount of time and most likely pointless work it would take to assess whether each vamp is savable is just not realistic. So most likely she is happy to ignore it and I'd say she is mostly right to do so.
    What a challenge, honesty
    What a struggle to learn to speak
    Who would've thought that pretending was easier

    Comment


    • #3
      Is it fair to judge, probably not, but it is very human. Buffy sees these creatures rise from the ground and their first instinct is to feed and kill. The most advanced vampire must have been Holden Webster and I think he was an outlier in the vamp community, as he managed to restrain himself, at least for a while.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think beyond the question of whether you view vamps as serial killers, there's the issue of one species seeing their own rights to survive and presence on the planet as being fundamentally more justified than another. Why is human survival above vampiric? In this sense it is more like a war and we're choosing a side from the beginning. I think the lack of care from vampires towards a human's right to live is very akin to our treatment of animal stock.

        I'm not sure Holden was an outlier. We get the impression that vampires rise and will attack and succumb to the desire to feed pretty instantly. But then this could reflect that they are meeting strangers they have no interest in interacting with.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not sure Holden was an outlier. We get the impression that vampires rise and will attack and succumb to the desire to feed pretty instantly. But then this could reflect that they are meeting strangers they have no interest in interacting with.
          Possibly, but most do go on to kill their families and friends, so I don't think vampires are big on any form of non violent interaction when they rise. I don't know what we'd do if vampires were non threatening when they rose and we let them wonder free, I think we'd regret that decision.

          Comment


          • #6
            All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.

            What’s said in this post/comment is what I remember, my opinions, etc.


            AtS = Angel.

            A&F = Angel & Faith

            AtF = After the Fall




            * This thread reminds me of some liberals and progressives not expressing a problem with Disney and other American corporations having their current American workers train their foreign replacements given that those corporations were effectively benefiting poorer people at the expense of richer people.

            Almost all vampires naturally kill humans and all vampires are immortal. It is perfectly justifiable for Slayers and others to kill almost all vampires. The only ethics come because of cost-benefit analysis.

            "Becoming Part II" (B 2.22) demonstrates to Buffy that Spike doesn't want the world to end and that he can be useful in stopping an apocalypse. Cost-benefit analysis then extended to Drusilla and later Harmony being included in the 'no-dusting policy'.

            But Spike is the one example until Season 8 introduces the examples of Dracula and Harmony in her own right.


            * Even Angel after BtVS S2 should have been dusted in early BtVS S3. But then Angel saves Buffy in "Earshot" (B 3.18) and things get murkier. But Angel should have been dusted after BtVS 8.39 and he only wasn't because Buffy still had some feelings for Angel and was willing to sacrifice her Slayer organization because of those feelings.


            * The reason Buffy doesn't dust Angel, Spike, and Dracula is because of Buffy/Angel, Buffy/Spike, and Buffy/Dracula. But Angel was helping Buffy before she learns he's a vampire. Buffy may have considered that Dracula might be useful to her in the future. But "Halloween" (B 2.06), "Lie to Me" (B 2.07) etc. until "Becoming Part II" (B 2.22) has Buffy's not dusting Spike because of Buffy/Spike.


            * It could be argued that Angel should have been dusted after he decides to break up with Buffy. "Graduation Day" (B 3.21-2) has his main contribution being that he tells the Scoobies the Mayor loves Faith, but the Mayor's love for Faith should have been relatively obvious to the Scoobies anyway. Buffy was risking that Angel could still be a force for good without the influence of Buffy and the Scoobies.


            * Was it wrong for the Fang Gang to initially want to kill Illyria? Illyria only isn't killed because of Wesley's love for Fred and he realizes a practical way to end Illyria's threat to the continent. And then Illyria becomes helpful to the Fang Gang largely because she becomes connected to Wesley and then Spike also.


            * Finally, Spike is unique. And it takes a lot for him to become a reliable force for good in the world. He becomes chipped and is able to escape the Initiative. He's the only vampire or demon to do so. He becomes likely the only vampire in history to win his human soul back. Etc.

            Comment


            • #7
              I wasn't really looking to inverse story reasons why specific vampires are/are not dusted so I'm not going to step into where I don't agree on those. This is more about the basic moral stance of preemptively killing another species just because they eat your own. Because vampires threaten human existence it's seen as justified to kill them. Humans have hunted many animals to extinction, yet they aren't actually looking to eradicate vampires though, but to stop the spread and swell of their numbers (and other demons/forces of darkness).

              So, I think there is more of a sense of trying to limit the damage that vampires and demons do rather than trying to extinguish a species. Those that are keeping out of the way, possible finding other food sources, like the more harmless demons we see from time to time, are simply less likely to be killed. If vampires stopped killing/siring then there wouldn't be any rising and the numbers that were being slayed would just naturally decrease. As long as there are continued killings/sirings then some action against them (even if it is often preemptive) is justified by the threat.

              Comment


              • #8
                If the question is 'is it morally wrong to kill anything/one preemptively' then the answer would be yes, except in war and that's what I like to think Buffy is in, and how she feels about it. She becomes a soldier in S7 and I think she (or someone) says in an earlier season that she's in a nightly war (or I've made it up)

                Comment


                • #9
                  All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.

                  What’s said in this post/comment is what I remember, my opinions, etc.


                  AtS = Angel.

                  A&F = Angel & Faith

                  AtF = After the Fall



                  Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                  [Humans] aren't actually looking to eradicate vampires though
                  I gave the examples of Angel, Spike, Drusilla, Harmony, and Dracula because of the 'the exception proves the rule' thing.

                  Pre-"Angel" (B 1.07), there likely was never a notion not to kill any and all vampires. And Angel only isn't killed in "Angel" because of Buffy/Angel.


                  * It's immoral for Buffy and Co. not to dust any and all vampires except those that can prove useful in the fight against evil.

                  Buffy herself is rather immoral in "School Hard" (B 2.03) until "Becoming Part II" (B 2.22) concerning Spike.

                  It's arguably immoral for Buffy to not kill Angel in BtVS S3. It's easily argued that Faith was a better ally than Angel and that Faith wouldn't have turned bad if Buffy didn't have her Angel attachment.

                  And if Faith was around in BtVS S4, Spike's being undusted would be less justifiable. But at least Spike was chipped in "Pangs" (B 4.07) and after until he became unsouled. Angel still has the perfect happiness clause.

                  It's easily arguably immoral for Buffy to not dust Dracula in "Buffy vs. Dracula" (B 5.01). She couldn't have known he'd be helpful in BtVS S8.


                  * Even with Spike, the canon (and I reason post-Season 9 cannot be canon) has Spike's being around when Buffy is still alive. Buffy is largely 'taking it on faith' that Spike will stay a force for good in the world after Buffy's dead and/or after Buffy is no longer sexually attractive to Spike.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                    If the question is 'is it morally wrong to kill anything/one preemptively' then the answer would be yes, except in war and that's what I like to think Buffy is in, and how she feels about it. She becomes a soldier in S7 and I think she (or someone) says in an earlier season that she's in a nightly war (or I've made it up)
                    No, I agree that the fight against vampires is a war and S7 really does play on that perspective. I questioned in the OP if it should be viewed like a war of opposing sides. From the vampiric perspective, killing humans doesn't matter and from the human one, soulless vampires can't be trusted to not kill for food/pleasure so preemptively defending humans is justified. I think that is the stance that the show presents and is what I'd go along with, but it does inherently include taking the perspective of one side over the other.

                    When Giles talks of demons walking the Earth for 'untold eons' it must have been alongside humans still. Their greater exit made the way for mortal animals, but the last to leave fed off a human and mixed their blood. So, both were already there. Humans do tend to act as if the world is theirs though and this feeds into the reaction to vampires as threatening creatures to slay I think. But at the end of the day, although vampires are preemptively killed, if they weren't killing and siring then there wouldn't be plentiful rising vamps to kill. So, it's hard to argue that it isn't a war when the ongoing choices of the vampires illustrates that it is.

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X