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A Blessing and a Curse

Monday 23 June 2014, by Van Quynh

Keywords:  |  angel  |  buffy  |  essay  |

You have to keep in mind the obvious, meaning that Angel’s condition of possessing a soul is very dramatically motivated. In other words, the curse is a dramatic tool to stage the dramatic irony of a love story - that of a Vampire Slayer in love with a Vampire.

It is well known that Joss uses Vampires as a metaphor for teenage angst - sex and death alike - thus it comes with no surprise that Vampires are nothing but stereotypes. Making Vampires follow this traditional recipe: choose a human being, lure them, drink them out of their blood and infect them with Vampire’s blood, the more they ingest the demon blood the stronger they are but minimum contact seems to be enough, wait till they die, then the soul leaves the body for the demon to awaken.

It is a logical leap to go from there - from the basis of the Vampire to advance on the principle of souls. In the end you get this new creature which share everything with the original host except for their soul which according to the Buffyverse mythology is where lies the ability to empathize with others and ultimately the freedom for generosity and sacrifice - to sum it up take all the potential for good and leave all the rest to fester for eternity.

In the end, Vampires are demons devoid of not so much basic human feelings or even of fundamental human conscience but devoid of human consciousness altogether (even though for many the difference sounds at first opaque) - in essence Vampires are not only inhumane but basically inhuman.

From this inhuman caricature of a person, the next dramatic step is consequently to give one Vampire a soul, a fate that makes him unique and special - the so called curse we are talking about. Because giving him his soul makes him a human being that in turn is capable of love as one human being experience it and the dramatic irony then goes both ways, meaning that you get a Vampire in love with a Vampire Slayer.

The clause is as well a dramatic tool, a means to stage Buffy’s first sexual experience releasing the demon in her partner, very cliché you may say - sex is bad, sex makes people into beasts. But then Joss had it pictured and sold, Angel’s turning evil and Buffy’s tears - the sadistic creator that gives and takes on his infinite dramatic wisdom - a godlike act if you’ve ever seen one.

People and characters often understand Angel’s curse as the curse of perfect happiness but in reality, they confuse the curse for the clause, in truth Angel’s curse is Angelus’s curse - as such it was Angelus who was cursed with a soul. This curse was not meant as a gift, it was not meant to save people, it was not meant to please anybody - not really, it was certainly not meant to do good except in removing Angelus from his playground. It was ultimately done abiding to the spirit of revenge in its unholy purity. I don’t exactly understand why Angelus was so deserving or undeserving this fate of his - never quite got what he did that made the Kalderash so angry - particularly when it was all Darla’s fault too. But it was definitely a show of power which I think was the very intent of it all. It suits the folklore of gypsies and their bloody vengeful habits though; thus the forget about bystanders, forget about victims, forget about consequences now and forever as long as your point gets through - and the point is: it’s all about power - the power in revenge.

So you certainly have to wonder about why they put that much of a stupid clause as perfect happiness in the first place, and even considering their twisted vision of things, it absolutely makes no sense, no sense at all. And the answer is they did not put the clause in the curse which is something vindicated by the few translation going about of what Willow says when she performed the re-ensouling curse on the show. Nothing in the wording of the curse itself mentions a clause. The conclusion is that the clause is not so much a clause as an inherent loophole.

For magic cannot be all powerful in such a world as the Buffyverse, magic cannot mean anything is possible; it abides by rules, it follows the right order of things, the natural balance of power - of powers. No matter what, there is a quid pro quo, a give and take. So the return of Angel’s soul is contingent on a curse, delimited, defined within the construct of a curse, one that only calls for misery. And by definition itself, this nature of a curse cannot withstand the condition of happiness - once happiness pure is reached, the curse cannot exist and it does not - thus the release of the soul and the reign of the demon.

Conclusion, the loophole is inherent to the magic and consequently can never be removed from it, lest invalidating the curse, Clause and Curse are the same .

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