Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Buffy Paper That Was Never Meant To Be....

Unfortunately, my abstract for an academic paper on Joss Whedon, theology, and the Buffyverse was turned down.  I'm not gonna lie, I'd really hoped to get a green-light - because where else am I going to come across a call for papers about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and theology? - but also not gonna lie, I'm so strapped for time, I'm not sure if I would've been able to fit it in, if they did give me the greenlight.

In any case: here it is. My very first academic abstract.  Any publications interested in seeing this, just give me a ring....

Souls Clothed in Demonic Flesh: The Divided Natures of Angel & Spike

by Kevin Lucia

"You don't have a Soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." - C.S. Lewis 

Christian philosopher C. S. Lewis couldn't have imagined the Buffyverse in this quote, but it offers eerie resonance concerning the cases of Angel and Spike, two vampires who, throughout their existence possess souls housed in demonic flesh, conditions that offer ample material for discourse on the topics of damnation, redemption, salvation, and the conflict between Good and Evil that exists within us all.

Even more intriguing is how these vampires obtain their souls. Angel is cursed with his as punishment for past sins, while Spike wins his (depending on perspective), in order to prove his worth to Buffy as a person. Angel's soul is dependent on his eternal torment, subject to removal should he ever obtain happiness. Spike's soul is permanent, though it must endure a painful assimilation - that of his demonic vampiric nature, weaker human nature and an idealized, “hero” figure, into a whole being.

Complicating matters is the “Shanshu Prophecy” from Angel, stating a vampire with a soul will play a pivotal role in the apocalypse and win back its humanity. When Spike joins the Angel cast for its final season, an interesting conflict emerges: which vampire with a soul most deserves their humanity most? One cursed with a soul for its evil deeds, or one given their soul for enduring arduous, torturous trials?

I propose examining Angel and Spike's soul-body constructs through a variety of belief systems: Catholicism, Protestantism, Zoroastrianism, Deism and even Humanism. The intent, however, will not be to pigeonhole Spike or Angel into a particular belief, but to examine and consider the possibility that of all the inhabitors of the Buffyverse, Angel and Spike are the most emblematic of our eternal, spiritual struggle between Good and Evil.

So. Any takers?