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Date Posted: 03:23:52 09/26/07 Wed
Author: Kat
Subject: Yin and Yang related to Spike and Angel

I have been reading a series of psychological books on the Whedonverse recently and with that and seeing some frankly rather derogatory stuff about Spike on some websites it occurs to me that a lot of people misunderstand the differences between Angel and Spike as Angel being the good one and Spike being the bad. A writer in "Five Seasons of Angel" saying that although he loves both characters he worries about Spike's ability to stay on the straight and narrow is typical.

Reading an excellent article http://www.bloodyawfulpoet.com/essays/whedonverse.html
a thought occured. The author in this article in the middle of it goes through how the two vampires are different in the terms of the Briggs personality structure and it occurs to me there is a consistancy in the differences.

Angel's allocated traits here - thinking as opposed to feeling, sensing, judging etc. are all rational to do with the left brain. Angel decides things based on what he sees and rationally believes. This is consistant both with and without a soul. It has pros and cons - he often needs a reason, a purpose to be good or not to sink into despondency. When he loses a rational reason to do good or anything at all then he sinks into despair one sort or another (either sitting in the gutter before being set straight by Whistler or shagging Darla on the grounds that it didn't matter). As Pippin points out in her essay about what defines the interlinked personalities of Angel, Angelius and Liam it's about power - but the positive side to this is that in Angel's case this is to the empowerment of others. Angel is often at his most glorious as a teacher of other troubled souls to gain the same self-control he has fought to gain so hard for himself.

All of Spike's traits are by contrast instictive to do the right brain traditionally associated with the female (which is apart from hotness the reason why a lot of female and gay men like him so much). Like Spike the right brain is often demonised and misunderstood. Left handers who are more atuned to it were often associated with evil to the extent where my paternal grandmother who was born left-handed was ambidextorous due to having being forced to write with her right hand. There is something a bit wild about Spike - who is a creature ruled by his heart, his gut and occasionally it has to be said his nether regions. He himself knows this "I don't have a reputation as a thinker. I follow my blood which does not always rush in the direction of my head". In a society that both good and evil values the rationality that Angel represents rather than Spike's instictiveness he has always been seen as second rate and his way does mean he's made some very big mistakes that have got him into a lot of trouble (i.e in Damage where rushing in got his hands chopped off) and have hurt people he cared for (obviously the awful events of the end of season six but also in "Lie to Me" where he could have got Drusilla killed had Buffy being less honourable). On the other hand it has lead him to do things which are glorious as he isn't bound by such a binary way of seeing things - it's his irrational make-up that leads him to seek a soul against all the rational reasons why it should be the last thing on earth he would ever want to do. The fool rushes in where the Angel fears to tread so to speak. Paradoxically he also comes a cropper in Angel's world when he doesn't obey his instinct which tells him intially that Lyndsey isn't to be trusted. Although Angel lambasts him for being stupid - his real fault is that in listening to Lyndsey logic's he isn't playing to his own strengths. Spike's instictive side also means he has a truer understanding of his nature than Angel has of his. He can accept he is both monster and man and that the man can work in harmony with the monster whilst remaining in control of it. The fact that Spike is more comfortable with the more animal side of myself may be the reason why Spike defeats Angel in fighting for the cup.

It is worth noting that when both become ensouled they become more like each other. Angel with a soul has an emotional side to him to that Angelius doesn't whilst ensouled Spike has a rationality and self-control he lacked without one. Maybe the reason why people ship them apart from mutual hotness is the sense they have a lot to teach other and that their different outlooks on life can work in harmony. In Damage we see that Spike gets to Dana faster than Angel but Angel doesn't get trapped by her if they had combined forces then Angel could have used Spike to get to her faster but control of the situation would have be retained more. They in essence work better in harmony than alone. After all the symbol for yin and yang has the yin containing a small amount of yang and vice versa.

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