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  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Evil and Redemption in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  • Vampires in traditional lore

    How to become a vampire"

    Suicide victim (unforgiveable sin)" Unbaptised (original sin)" Cursed by witch (heresy = sin)" Born with a caul (unclean, mark of sin)" No last rites (died without forgiveness of sins)" Improper burial ritual (violation of power of liturgy)" 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:" Dont 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, cant abide sunlight, etc.

    Need for native soil, ability to transform into wolves, etc. are elements NOT carried over into Buffy (with one exception - Buffy vs Dracula, Season 5)

    Causes of Vampirism reduced to one: sharing blood with a Vampire

    No religious causes - sin not a factor

    Redemption is possible - major

    religious theme in Buffy

    - a soul is necessary - redemption is

    religious in essence in Buffy

  • Redemption - Angel

    Love interest of Buffy.

    Vampire cursed with a soul by


    Loses soul after one moment of

    complete happiness - sex with Buffy.

    Evil again until re-cursed with a soul by Willow.

    Fights for good, to redeem self from centuries of evil.

    Gets own spin-off show, to continue search for redemption!

    Themes: Redemptive power of love; need for soul; redemption through sacrifice?

  • Redemption - Spike

    First enemy, then reluctant ally of Buffy, later love interest.

    Poet, mammas 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 the finale of Buffy.

    Themes: Redemption through individual choice. Redemptive power of love. Buffy as 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

    First occupants of our world, gradually left/were forced out of our world, making way for humans.

  • 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.

    Xanders 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 the finale.

    Themes: evil = selfishness,

    redemption = sacrifice

  • 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.

    From left to right: Warren, Jonathan, Andrew

  • Redemption - Andrew

    One of The Trio - geeky humans,

    super villains.

    Gay character, in love with Warren -

    manipulated by The First through love.

    Betrays, murders best friend Jonathan,

    when The First Evil (as Warren) tells him to - the Devil made me do it?

    Redeems himself in finale storyline, tears of remorse, fighting on side of good.

    Themes: Despite supernatural influence, personal responsibility for evil cannot be denied. Outward expression of repentance necessary?

    Fights supernatural evil, finds redemption on own merits.

  • 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 spin-off series Angel.

    Returns for finale of Buffy, fights

    against evil for good.

  • Redemption - Willow

    Best friend to Buffy, kind,

    gentle turned to evil on murder of her lover Tara by Warren.

    Murders Warren

    Attempts to destroy the world to end the suffering.

    Redeemed by Xanders love. Christian allusions here? Xander as Christ? The carpenter?

    Themes: Love redeems - love of friends, family - this-worldly emphasis.

    Pays penance - confronts own fears of evil power in finale episode.

  • Series Finale

    Series finale highlights stories of redemption.

    Except for Angel (who works out own redemption on his

    spin-off series), most major in-need-of-redemption characters are redeemed here - Spike, Faith, Willow, Anya, Andrew

    Buffy as Christ - savior, redeemer - also highlighted here (we will discuss this next time)


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