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Why Did Angelus Want To End The World?

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  • Why Did Angelus Want To End The World?

    I apologize if this has been asked before...

    In any event, why do you think Angelus tried to destroy the world in Season 2?

    When Angelus first meets the Master we have this exchange:

    Master: "We live below, giving tribute to the old ones. Awaiting that promised day when we will arise -Arise! - and lay *waste* to the world above us."
    The Master laughs.
    Angelus: "Why'd you want to do that?"
    Master: "Huh?"
    Angelus: "Well, I mean, have you *been* above lately? It's quite nice.
    Angelus seems to have a similar position to Spike here. He seems to like the world has no intention of destroying it. However, fast forward a couple of centuries and then he's all, "Let's destroy the world!!!"

    My question is why the change of heart.

    Possible theories.

    Perhaps the mistake is thinking of Angelus as static. Like all beings, he changes and is influenced.

    For example, when he was first turned, he seemed like an evil version of Liam, not quite the Angelus we know today. For starters when he kills his father, it's more an act of anger and frustration, than a solid belief in evil itself. This is not so dissimilar to Spike's evil early on as he finally got his own back on the peers who rejected him.

    In short, his soul moments influenced his soulless moments.

    I believe the possible impetus behind destroying the world, is Buffy for several reasons.

    This line really caught my attention:

    Angelus: Now Acathla, you will be free and so will we all.

    What did he mean by this? Free from what? It seems the humanity that he associated with love was too much to endure for an 'evil purist' like Angelus to endure. Maybe it was an act of utter desperation to rid himself of the feelings he had.

    Joss actually said that Angelus still had feelings for Buffy, but for an idealist like Angel(us) love has meaning beyond itself. It's about a higher nobility beyond the carnal. In short he cannot separate it from morality and for his evil to be pure, love cannot abound. Even self-destruction is more preferable than living with these feelings.

    Also Angelus is about control. The apocalypse that the Beast seemed to engineering was an affront to Angelus for one main reason: He didn't cause it!

    I also believe it has a poetic element to it. Buffy is a champion and a world saver, so better torment than to have her fail. Even if Angelus suffers in hell, as long as Buffy is suffering, it's enough.

    What do you guys think?

  • #2
    Originally posted by kana View Post
    Angelus seems to have a similar position to Spike here. He seems to like the world has no intention of destroying it. However, fast forward a couple of centuries and then he's all, "Let's destroy the world!!!"

    My question is why the change of heart.

    Possible theories.

    Perhaps the mistake is thinking of Angelus as static. Like all beings, he changes and is influenced.

    For example, when he was first turned, he seemed like an evil version of Liam, not quite the Angelus we know today. For starters when he kills his father, it's more an act of anger and frustration, than a solid belief in evil itself. This is not so dissimilar to Spike's evil early on as he finally got his own back on the peers who rejected him.
    That's true, too. Darla (the episode) makes the change in his personality between the mid-18th century and the late 19th century very clear. He is very impulsive, hedonistic, careless as a young vampire. In the latter flashback, he hates Spike's impulsive ways and he is much more in favor of planned, careful actions. He might have also become more of an "idealist" and "purist" over time, as you say. What changed him? Experience, age, relationship with Darla...?

    Still, that Angelus didn't seem interested in destroying the world, only destroying individual people.


    I believe the possible impetus behind destroying the world, is Buffy for several reasons.

    This line really caught my attention:

    Angelus: Now Acathla, you will be free and so will we all.

    What did he mean by this? Free from what? It seems the humanity that he associated with love was too much to endure for an 'evil purist' like Angelus to endure. Maybe it was an act of utter desperation to rid himself of the feelings he had.

    Joss actually said that Angelus still had feelings for Buffy, but for an idealist like Angel(us) love has meaning beyond itself. It's about a higher nobility beyond the carnal. In short he cannot separate it from morality and for his evil to be pure, love cannot abound. Even self-destruction is more preferable than living with these feelings.

    Also Angelus is about control. The apocalypse that the Beast seemed to engineering was an affront to Angelus for one main reason: He didn't cause it!

    I also believe it has a poetic element to it. Buffy is a champion and a world saver, so better torment than to have her fail. Even if Angelus suffers in hell, as long as Buffy is suffering, it's enough.

    What do you guys think?
    I agree, it's my interpretation, too. This is a part of my rewatch review of I Only Have Eyes For You, written a few months ago:

    "...there is a parallel [between Angel and Grace] because he is fighting against feeling that love (but for completely different reasons from those that make him feel it's wrong while he's souled) - at the end of the episode, he feels really disturbed for having felt love when Grace's ghost possessed him. And I think this is what precipitates his decision to destroy humanity, something that he never seemed keen on doing on all his 100+ years as an evil soulless vampire. I don’t the problem is just that he felt Grace's love, but that he remembers what he was like when he had a soul and loved her, and without a soul he still can't let go of his obsession for Buffy, only now it's turned to hate exactly because he hates that he used to love her so much and that she made him feel human. But no matter how much he tried to hurt Buffy in various ways, in the end he can't really get rid of that feeling completely and be free of her unless he destroys humanity completely."

    Joss actually said that Angelus still had feelings for Buffy,
    I thought it was always obvious he did, and that they were as strong and intense - but they changed into the dark, cruel opposite of what they used to be; "love" is probably not be the right word to use for those feelings anymore. The text itself acknowledged that his obsession with Buffy was still his driving force; as Willow said: "You're still all he thinks about."
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by kana View Post

      I also believe it has a poetic element to it. Buffy is a champion and a world saver, so better torment than to have her fail. Even if Angelus suffers in hell, as long as Buffy is suffering, it's enough.

      IMO this is the reason. Angelus wanted to punish Buffy brcause of all the feelings he has to her. He told Spike .." She makes me feel human and this is not kind of thing you may to forgive about ..." May be Angelus still has feelings for Buffy, but not love. Angelus didn`t loves Buffy . He feels like a victim because of his previous human feelings to her. That`s why he wanted to punish her so badly , even wants to destroy the world because of her.
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      • #4
        I wonder--and this is only speculation--if at the root of the vampire psyche there lurks a profound self hatred. Such a self hatred could find a solution only in complete and permanent oblivion. Of course just destroying our planet would not be enough. You would have to destroy the whole multi-verse in all its dimensions creating a state of absolute nothingness, with no space and no time.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Michael View Post
          I wonder--and this is only speculation--if at the root of the vampire psyche there lurks a profound self hatred. Such a self hatred could find a solution only in complete and permanent oblivion. Of course just destroying our planet would not be enough. You would have to destroy the whole multi-verse in all its dimensions creating a state of absolute nothingness, with no space and no time.
          I like this a lot. And to take it one step further Angel has been made to feel human, bot hwhilst souled and whilst possessed in IOHEFY. I think there's a fair arguement for their being a lot of mixed feeling below the surface for all sorts of reasons that make Angel a fan of ending it all (literally). Plus if Angel is going out he's going out in style and nothing says style like apocalypse.
          JUST ENOUGH KILL

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          • #6
            Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm on S6 now, haven't watched S2 in a while), but I think Angelus tried to destroy the world twice, first with the Judge, then with Acathla. The Judge, I believe, would've left the physical world intact but with no living people in it. Acathla would've destroyed the physical world, but left the people alive, albeit in a Hell dimension. What kind of Hell was not made clear, as I remember. Doesn't Buffy speculate that it might involve sitting for final exams forever?

            What Angelus wants to escape, by destroying it, seems to be any tender human feelings. There really is a mentality like that. Slogans like "quite your bitching" and "it sucks to be you" and "boo hoo, life isn't fair," which we really do hear sometimes, pretty much sum it up.

            I don't know what makes people think like that, but I'm sorry for people who do, and I'm sure it didn't happen to me.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Midwestern Watcher View Post
              What Angelus wants to escape, by destroying it, seems to be any tender human feelings.
              I agree with this.


              But I would add another reason, that might have influenced his decision. Angelus wanted to prove (to himself, I don't think he cares all that much about what others think), that he "still got it". For a vampire so cruel and totally inhuman (which he proves by touching the Judge and which seems to be not necessarily regular feature of vampires, see Dalton), it must have been a torture to look back at one hundreded years of "kindness" and "good behavior". He wanted to prove to himself, that Angel was gone and his "new" personality was as evil as they come. And what better way to do that, than by wiping out the whole.



              On a related note (though I'm not looking to derail the thread, but maybe it has already been discussed or is known): Why did Spike want to assemble the Judge? In Becoming he make it very clear, what he thinks of ending the world: Jack. But the Judge would have accomplished that. Did his goals change over time due to Angel competing with him for Dru? Did he just wanted to give it to Dru as a gift, knowing he would be able to convince her, that the world is a fun place and they should hack the Judge back into pieces after she had her fun? This question has always bugged me.

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              • #8
                In Becoming he make it very clear, what he thinks of ending the world: Jack.
                Only if you believe what Spike says, never mind that his actions clearly contradict his words. He shrugs and leaves Buffy to fight Angel alone when it seems the latter is winning. Quite telling, IMO. He helps Buffy because he is pissed at Angel. Angel himself kills the Beast in S4 of AtS but that doesn't mean he wanted to save the world.
                Xander: "Willow, you are the best human ever! I adore you! Well, that's the cookies talking, but you rock!"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Themb View Post
                  On a related note (though I'm not looking to derail the thread, but maybe it has already been discussed or is known): Why did Spike want to assemble the Judge? In Becoming he make it very clear, what he thinks of ending the world: Jack. But the Judge would have accomplished that. Did his goals change over time due to Angel competing with him for Dru? Did he just wanted to give it to Dru as a gift, knowing he would be able to convince her, that the world is a fun place and they should hack the Judge back into pieces after she had her fun? This question has always bugged me.
                  There's a lot of difference between The Judge and Acathla. The Judge was going to start burning people, the Slayers and demon hunters would try to stop him, Spike and Dru and the other vampires would be attacking other people in the meantime (the Judge wouldn't have been able to burn them all at once), there would've been a lot of fighting and mayhem and violence, and fun for Spike. Whereas Acathla would've just sucked the entire world in hell in a few seconds, and where's the fun in that?
                  You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Themb View Post
                    On a related note (though I'm not looking to derail the thread, but maybe it has already been discussed or is known): Why did Spike want to assemble the Judge? In Becoming he make it very clear, what he thinks of ending the world: Jack. But the Judge would have accomplished that. Did his goals change over time due to Angel competing with him for Dru? Did he just wanted to give it to Dru as a gift, knowing he would be able to convince her, that the world is a fun place and they should hack the Judge back into pieces after she had her fun? This question has always bugged me.
                    This is one of many problems that will instantly disappear if we can accept a metaphorical explanation, where the story is about Buffy's subjective life, and the "world" that might be destroyed is the "little world" of her experience. What puzzles me is why you guys don't want to go there. Try it, you'll find it's not a bad place to be.

                    Now, vampires have a sense of self-hatred? Well ... all right ...

                    ... as long as we remember that we're talking a latter-day version of the vampire legend, where the original idea has been lost. The "classical" vampire had no self-hatred, or any other feeling about himself or anybody else, because he didn't have any real feelings, or real thoughts. He didn't even have a real body, which is why he didn't cast a reflection, and could rise in the air at will, and turn into a mist and so forth. In the Middle Ages, common sense was a different thing than it is now. Such a being comported with people's intuition back then. No longer. We can't write stories about "classical vampires" for the same reason we can't paint like Giotto. Remember GBS' famous remark, "your royal academician thinks he can get Giotto's style without Giotto's beliefs, and improve his perspective into the bargain."

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Midwestern Watcher View Post
                      ... as long as we remember that we're talking a latter-day version of the vampire legend, where the original idea has been lost. The "classical" vampire had no self-hatred, or any other feeling about himself or anybody else, because he didn't have any real feelings, or real thoughts. He didn't even have a real body, which is why he didn't cast a reflection, and could rise in the air at will, and turn into a mist and so forth. In the Middle Ages, common sense was a different thing than it is now. Such a being comported with people's intuition back then. No longer. We can't write stories about "classical vampires" for the same reason we can't paint like Giotto. Remember GBS' famous remark, "your royal academician thinks he can get Giotto's style without Giotto's beliefs, and improve his perspective into the bargain."
                      What vampires from other fictional tales are like is irrelevant to Buffyverse. And secondly, what is a "classical vampire"? It seems you're talking about Stoker's Dracula, with the shapeshifting and all. There is so single rule as to what vampires are supposed to be like, and in the original Balkan (South Slavic rather than Romanian, incidentally) folk myths and beliefs, where the word 'vampire' comes from in the first place, there was no mention of shapeshifting or no reflection or burning in the sun or any of the things that were later added in the literature. A vampire was just a person who rose from the coffin at night and roamed the village and sucked people's blood and came back to the coffin to rest. According to the legend, when they would find the body in the coffin, it would often be fat and bloated from all the blood the vampire has drunk, so obviously they were very corporeal in that version. What's more, the folk tales say that vampires would often have sex with their wives, especially if they were young and pretty, and even got them pregnant sometimes (but for some reason that baby would be born without bones - weird tale, beats Twilight, doesn't it? ).
                      You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the replies. Hopefully I will get round to addressing everyone's points.

                        Michael's point about self-hatred is very interesting. It's seems somewhat commonly depicted that vampires are the abomination of the demon world on account of the humanity, so it makes sense for Angelus to commit to a truly 'demonic' act as the ultimate form of purity, whether it appears practical or not.

                        This may not be the case with all vampires. For example, I don't think Spike demonstrated this kind of self-hatred.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kana View Post
                          Thanks for the replies. Hopefully I will get round to addressing everyone's points.

                          Michael's point about self-hatred is very interesting. It's seems somewhat commonly depicted that vampires are the abomination of the demon world on account of the humanity, so it makes sense for Angelus to commit to a truly 'demonic' act as the ultimate form of purity, whether it appears practical or not.

                          This may not be the case with all vampires. For example, I don't think Spike demonstrated this kind of self-hatred.
                          I'd agree until the chip and subsequent falling in love with Buffy. I think that, especially through season 6 we do see Spike (and especially after the AR)wrestling with similar issues, although he processes it differently. I particularly think that angel tends to project inwards in a very introverted way whereas Spike tends to project out and away from himself which accounts for the difference (although interestingly their solutions to the self hatred do flip the introvert/extrovert thing).

                          There's certainly a desire in Spike to see himself as worthy of Buffy and that would imply a feeling of lack of worth. Perhaps when the world is black and white, hunt and kill, fight or die a vamp has it nice and clear but when emotion and love and, well, humanity get intothe mix it starts to muddy the waters, leads to self doubt and ultimately the kind of self loathing we're talking about.
                          JUST ENOUGH KILL

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tangent View Post
                            I'd agree until the chip and subsequent falling in love with Buffy. I think that, especially through season 6 we do see Spike (and especially after the AR)wrestling with similar issues, although he processes it differently. I particularly think that angel tends to project inwards in a very introverted way whereas Spike tends to project out and away from himself which accounts for the difference (although interestingly their solutions to the self hatred do flip the introvert/extrovert thing).

                            There's certainly a desire in Spike to see himself as worthy of Buffy and that would imply a feeling of lack of worth. Perhaps when the world is black and white, hunt and kill, fight or die a vamp has it nice and clear but when emotion and love and, well, humanity get intothe mix it starts to muddy the waters, leads to self doubt and ultimately the kind of self loathing we're talking about.
                            To me, with Spike it transcends species, but I agree it's about external validation of worth. For me, it's slightly different case with Spike. I don't think he reflected on the nature of his species or evil until the chip, but even then it was matter of circumstance and reacting to the environment. If anything it wasn't about conflict of humanity and demon but not being allowed to excercise his joie de vivre.

                            My take on Angelus' self-hatred has roots in humanity but ultimately it's about being truly unable to find the demonic purity which Spike wouldn't really care about. I'm not sure, that's just my feeling I guess.

                            I liked Angel's line to The Scourge...

                            Angel: "You think I don't know that? You think I don't smell the humanity inside me day and night - polluting me?" "I need to be cleansed and only you can show me the way. (Steps closer) You can kill me if you want you'd only be freeing me.

                            I still think that Angelus has a sense of self-preservation but these words could easily explain his desire to open Acathla.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kana View Post
                              To me, with Spike it transcends species, but I agree it's about external validation of worth. For me, it's slightly different case with Spike. I don't think he reflected on the nature of his species or evil until the chip, but even then it was matter of circumstance and reacting to the environment. If anything it wasn't about conflict of humanity and demon but not being allowed to excercise his joie de vivre.

                              My take on Angelus' self-hatred has roots in humanity but ultimately it's about being truly unable to find the demonic purity which Spike wouldn't really care about. I'm not sure, that's just my feeling I guess.

                              I liked Angel's line to The Scourge...

                              Angel: "You think I don't know that? You think I don't smell the humanity inside me day and night - polluting me?" "I need to be cleansed and only you can show me the way. (Steps closer) You can kill me if you want you'd only be freeing me.

                              I still think that Angelus has a sense of self-preservation but these words could easily explain his desire to open Acathla.
                              My take would be that they are very similar in the root cause of the self loathing but I think Angel would tend to intellectualise it more due to his more introspective character and that, coupled with his love of the theatric is what leads to Acathla.

                              With Spike, you're right, it's not something he would reflect on that much. with him it would be a case of trying different approaches (which he does: Chipectomy, trying to draw buffy to the dark side etc) I think his final act is an emotional, almost visceral reaction but borne from the same feelings as that that Angel suffers from.

                              Still thinking about this though.
                              Last edited by tangent; 31-01-12, 03:31 PM.
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