1st Anniversary Posting Party: Angelus
Rendyl - July 04, 2001

"Well, judging by the outfit, I guess it's safe to come in. Evil Angel never would've worn those pants." (Cordelia, "Eternity")

Oh, how we love to drool over the leather pants of evil and the sexy vampire wearing them. As long as we don't have to get any closer of course, since the vampire wearing them is not our sweet brooding Angel but instead is Angelus, The Scourge of Europe, and a legendary evil even among vampires. Cruel, violent, and sadistic, he is the epitome of a demon.

The question (discussed on many a forum) is how did Angelus evolve from Liam? As we saw in 'Over The Rainbow' and in 'There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb' the demon inside Angel/Angelus is nearly a mindless animal, with no thought but to kill, eat, and kill again. It even goes for the blood Fred lures it with, rather than attack Fred. There are no indications of the cruelty we see in Angelus.

As Greta from this board put it so well,

"...it makes clear that the it's the vampires' human nature that makes them "evil." I.E. when Angelus killed Jenny, it was the beast that let him catch her and snap her neck, but it was the soulless MAN whose twisted artistic vision arranged the body in Giles' bed" (Greta, 8:28 5/18/01).

We have Angelus; famous not so much for how many humans he killed but for how painful and inventive his torture of them was. How do we get Angelus from Liam? The newly risen Liam is a typical vampire. He rises, has his first meal, and then slaughters his village. No grand plans or involved torture here, just some good (or rather evil) old-fashioned killing and mayhem. Then his memories begin to influence him.

"What we once were informs all that we have become." (Darla - 'The Prodigal')

Time to turn on his family. He saves his father for last. He seems to enjoy the pain his father feels at seeing the family dead and bloody but he seems most happy at having beaten his father.

"You told me I wasn't a man. You told me I was nothing. - and I believed you. You said I'd never amount to anything. Well, you were wrong. " (Liam- 'The Prodigal')

He kills his father and for a few minutes he is happy. Then Darla speaks the words I believe created Angelus.

Darla: "This contest is ended, is it?"
Liam: "Now I've won."
Darla: "You're sure?"
Liam: "Of course. I proved who had the power here."
Darla: "You think?"
Liam: "What?"
Darla: "Your victory over him took but moments"... "But his defeat of you will last life times."
Liam: "What are you talking about? He can't defeat me now."
Darla: "Nor can he ever approve of you - in this world or any other."

With a few words she reduces Liam, who had been feeling frisky and fine, likely almost high on his new found power over life and death, back to the drunken worthless son. He not only lost, he can never win.

My husband tells me that being accepted as an adult by your father is an important part of growing up. Liam will never have this. His father never acknowledged him as an adult or as a man worthy to be his son. Now he never will. Because of this, Liam becomes Angelus, a vampire who thrives on making his victims suffer, proving (at least to himself) that he holds power over them. The more helpless his victims appear, the more powerful he feels.

Angelus never fights a battle he cannot win. In 'Fool For Love', Spike wants more danger, bigger challenges and the possibility of losing. Angelus only wants a soft bed, fine clothes, and innocent victims to torture and eat. If Angelus cannot win a fight he avoids it, and in doing so he avoids the possibility of failure. As Liam he failed at most things, including revenge on his father. As Angelus he is going to make sure he never fails again.

"Eternal torment. - Am I learning?" (Angelus, 'Dear Boy')

There is a certain amount of speculation on whether Drusilla was a success or a failure. Angelus was obsessed with her, with making her believe she was evil. He succeeded in breaking her, but not (I think) in the way he intended. Ultimately she was able to escape him by going insane. She was still tormented but the essence of who she was died when she did. He created an insane demon that is tormented, rather than a human girl who willingly embraced evil.

Then we have his obsession with Buffy. There are several similarities to Drusilla. Buffy is young, innocent, and beautiful. She has a supernatural ability that sets her apart from her friends and family. She is uncertain about what she is and where her gifts come from.

Not enough just to kill her, he wants to torment her, and to completely destroy her. He tells Spike "to kill this girl you need to love her" but that love becomes the root of his inability to kill her. Even without a soul he still loves her. He hates her for it, but he still feels it. He spends hours watching her sleep, making sketches of her. He looks for reasons to fight her, excuses to touch her and be near her, but never takes complete advantage of her inability to kill him. He kills Jenny and leaves her as a morbid present for Giles instead of choosing someone closer to Buffy. He torments her friends but he never leaves them dead on her doorstep.

Angelus knows if he kills Buffy it is all over. The same applies if he pushes her too far and it drives her insane. His fun ends and she wins. So he struggles with wanting to be close to her while at the same time wanting to hurt her.

In the end his need to be in control, to be powerful, and to win overrides any thought or reason. He cannot bring himself to kill her (or to admit that he cannot kill her) and he cannot win if she is still alive. Enter Acathla and suddenly Angelus has the ability to suck earth into a hell. Eternal torment for Buffy seems like the perfect solution. It is big, showy, and tailor-made for his reputation. Her pain never has to stop and he insures he will never lose her, or lose to her.

(Of course he does lose and regains his soul but that is another topic, for another poster.)


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