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Is vampire without a soul capable of love?

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  • Is vampire without a soul capable of love?

    I come across review of BTVS where author was pointing out plot holes in season 5. I was nodding my head when he was talking about Spike suddenly falling in love with Buffy, how contrived it was because vampire without a soul of course is incapable of love. This is definition of a sociopath after all. I must to admit than I never like the idea of Spike being in love with Summers so I just accepted what this guy was saying in his review, blindly nodding my head. And then it down on me... what this guy is saying bunch of BS! One word: Drusilla. It seems that Spike sincerely loved her and she was in love with him. Think about this for a for a moment: when we first meet her she was physically and mentally ill, so she was useless for Spike, she was deadweight... and yet, for some reason he was taking care of her, he wanted to restore her to health and after she left him he was genuinely upset and he wanted to cast a love spell to regain her affection. So yes, there is no other explanation than soulless vampire, Spike was in love. What do you think, can vampire without a soul truly love somebody?

  • #2
    I think it's a semantic matter (what is love?), it's obvious that vampires can't feel everything a soulled being can feel, and love is influenced by those feelings. But at the same time they can feel other aspects of love; we've seen several vampires having serious relations where they obviously cared about eachother; Spike & Dru, Darla & Angel, Darla & the Master, James & Elisabeth and Harmony showed affection towards by example Fred. I wouldn't just dismiss what they feel and how 'real' their relations are.

    -Spoilers for Ats season 3-
    On the other side I think it's telling that Darla (And Angel as well) doesn't consider the love she felt as a vampire as 'love'. She did when she was a soulless vampire, but when she got her soul and experienced 'soulled' love, she stopped calling what she shared with Angelus 'love'. Despite those two having one of the strongest 'vampire' relations we know.

    They certainly feel something and care, but I also have the feeling that some vampires like to go over the top because they think that it's part of 'love'. Spike is a dramaqueen when he is in love and James went even further when Elisabeth died. And the whole point of that episode was that James was being ridiculous and that it had little to do with love and more with being a gigantic dramaqueen. My theory is that vampires try to compensate for what they can't feel, so they fake aspects and can go a bit overboard with it. Also it could be that love translates to obsession in some cases. (We saw that with Angelus and Buffy in season 2.)

    In the end it's all about the soul again, what can a soulless being feel and what not. And sadly enough the writers never cared as much about 'the soul' as the fans, we've no idea what exactly the soul is and does. As long we don't know that and don't have a clear definition of 'love', the question won't be answered IMO.
    Last edited by Nina; 16-02-13, 11:31 AM.


    • #3
      The words “stained with humanity” might give somebody the idea the “stain” was love, as Druscilla and Spike were passed with this judgment by the Judge. However, the “stain” of humanity very well may include real “stains” upon persons or the evenvironment e.g. arson, murder, betrayal, and all sorts of other human kinds of staining activity that are contrary to the “pure soul”—the gift of God, as a pure gift, aka the perfection of Himself, given upon His breath: “and God breathed into man and he became a living soul.”

      My definition of love isn’t even “romantic ideal/pursuit”—it’s life/death/love, a triumvirate of each sourced in, becoming of, and dependent on the simultaneous existence of the others.. The definition of love that I see Joss seems to support is the selfless willingness to sacrifice one’s life for another, such that your joy is in the existence/well being of the “other.”

      The self sacrifice of Buffy in “The Gift,” that she “figured out,” and thus was the gain/gift for the reluctant slayer, fighting between her duty and her humanity, was the gift of what a slayer actually is supposed to understand: that she is not a weapon to aim at evil or the person to “only kill” and “be stripped away.” She protects life, all life in the world. That love of life within the world in which we all must die, makes life so precious to have the chance to life, to love and share that with the “other.” It is not her ability to kick butt. And the other Gift was that life offers death, an end to horror and struggle and fear. In short, her “fragile” humanity, her living soul is her real power and the measure of her humanity, on the level of ultimate love, pure love, selfless love: “God so loved the world, He gave his one and only begotten Son” -type of love.

      As for Spike and his being paired to anybody. I never believed Spike without a soul ever loved anybody, even in this “miracle” insight of going to get a soul in “Seeing Red.” He figured it out that he would never win Buffy without a soul, no matter how many “good deeds” he performed to gain her acceptance. Now that is painful to watch him do everything “just right” and not get what he wants. And that is the problem: what HE wants.

      Further, when a person has a soul, that “appearance” of love is not the “real deal love” because he is a shadow being. He is “just” a vampire demon inside of a stolen body that is animated by that demon, which is capable of access to the memories of a dead man. He can mimic perfectly, he can “walk like a man” but he is not one. Everything becomes “indirect” in experience. The flesh belongs to William. Spike’s demon animates it. He drinks blood to sustain the dead flesh in material and to use senses for the ‘spiritual’ aspect of experience e.g. the fear of a human being carried in that blood. It is still that person who is afraid. Not the vampire.

      The demon concerns himself with only what he wants and desires, no matter if it is now or takes a century to get it. And “remorse” either doesn’t exist nor does anything to change his behavior to “not want what he wants,” or that isn’t about his own self preservation. His remorse to change himself really has nothing to do with “the other” unless that “other” is being “worked on” to get something he also wants from them. Something to “get.” He simply is what vampires are: “all about me or all about what I want” e.g. “I want Buffy to love me, “ “I want Buffy to see me as more than some shadow being.” I want, I want.”

      Buffy being happy with herself and her own life, surrounded by those who support her safety, her joy, her humanity in a life of a person always facing darkness (aka her family) must count above “I want.”

      The soul seems to be the one big difference to experience something directly, not in “shadow form” of memory or imagination, or mimicry. And it really is selfless, and takes joy in the joy of the other as one’s own.

      Therefore, being willing to die is not to gain approval or higher regard by the “other.” Spike did love in Chosen. He told her “to go on” and be everything she is meant to be and to do that without him, but he was really happy for her. He didn’t know if he would live or die, but he didn’t make the “scene” about himself, and what he wanted.

      SPOILER COMICS SEASON 9: Despite Spike and Angel having souls, Buffy does not treat them equally. And that is in the “selfless love” department. Buffy treats Spike as a “half thing” in being her “dark place” and honestly? I haven’t seen Spike pull off anything like that moment in “Chosen” since he told her off that he won’t be that half thing for her. He had been hanging around in case Buffy is going to “miraculously” fall in love with him and decide she wants to make her life with him! There has never been an impediment between them other than “what Buffy wants.”

      Angel is right. Spike is not him. Doesn’t matter what you think of B/A is “good for Buffy” or not. A. At least both parties in B/A are in agreement at the same time, yet they also both admit that each one needs a life that is better without the other in it. Season eight “made no sense” in the disregard of the “curse,” which allowed them to even do what they both wanted and both would “never.” I saw they want each other, but can’t have each other, without the cost being “the world.” So, until season eight, they each are willing to sacrifice their own “happiness” for the sake of the other’s very existence/well being. Angel needs to “do the mission” of amends. Buffy needs her family to retain her own sense of humanity and light. Spike deserves better than what he is being given from anybody, including Buffy.

      Spike (rightly) refused to be “less” than a man. A shadow “thing.” He has a soul; he has given and received pure love directly, from Buffy herself; not in “mimcry,” “agenda” or “dramatics of role.” He shouldn’t settle for anything less than being fully seen and embraced as a whole person in a love that has , as measure, his happiness AS her own happiness IS her joy.

      Bottom line? This selfless love Joss defines as selfless, always requires death; and that is why I don’t adhere to his definition of love or even romantic love. And that is why “healthy” (anything) is the one impossibility in this universe for anyone. But I’m not a shrink or Joss or a writer, required to derail any happiness with vigor.
      Last edited by sybil; 18-02-13, 12:56 AM.