On Angel

It's A Stupid Curse

By Marguerite Krause

There’s no question that Angel is a wonderfully complex fictional character. Since the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, everything about him has been designed to be intriguing: a vampire with a soul, a loving, decent man in search of redemption, tormented by the memory of all the evil deeds he committed in the past and determined to make amends. If conflict is the core of good drama, then Angel is the ideal dramatic character, because he is so conflicted on so many fundamental levels. He constantly strives to do good, yet he is a vampire, evil by his very nature.

Or is he?

Who is Angel, really? The rules of the fantasy universe created by Joss Whedon seem to present one fairly clear answer–but the actions of many of the characters over the years imply something else entirely. It’s possible to shrug off the resulting contradictions and just watch the episodes as they’re presented. You can enjoy the clever storylines, exciting adventures, witty dialogue and engaging characters without thinking too much about the mythology in which the universe is rooted. Except, of course, when the stories themselves are centered in the mythology–then it gets hard to ignore the truth.

To put it bluntly: The gypsies cursed the wrong guy.

There’s plenty of evidence that the vampire Angelus is a creature of pure, remorseless evil. Angelus is mentioned as a particularly cruel and dangerous vampire in the reference books Giles has at his disposal, and people who knew him during his reign of  …

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