Alright, well, this soapbox isn't very good, cause it got written in a hurry, but it's basically my thoughts on souls in the Buffyverse.
“We can love you know. Quite well, if not wisely.”
So said by Drusilla to Buffy in Crush. Those words break down everything the council ever taught Buffy, that demons couldn’t love. The soul vs. soulless theory is that a demon can’t feel emotions, but, if that is true, than how could he feel hate? Anger, greed, lust. Those are all emotions. So is love.
“The saddest thing in the world is loving someone who use to love you.”
It is only with Angel and Angelus that the lines become blurred. Only there. Elizabeth and James were two vampires who were very much in love. They were demons, but they loved each other. Drusilla’s feelings for Angelus, and her caring of Spike, were noted by the Judge.
“You two, you share jealousy and affection.”
I think it is a little ridiculous that just because one vampire cannot love as a demon, it has to mean that all of them can’t. Liam was a drunken, wastrel of an Irish man as a human, and who you are as a human will influence who your demon is going to be. Darla was a whore, a bitter woman who had spurned her faith in god. As a demon she was the same bitter, selfish woman, only more bloodthirsty. Drusilla was a chaste, catholic girl who was turned insane as a human, and remained insane as a demon. If the demon was separate from the human all together, then Drusilla would no longer be insane. The insane part of her would have moved on. William was a loving, caring man, who when turned into a vampire was still much the same. His focus was still of taking care of his mother. His anger at society, his need for revenge was enhanced by the demon sharing his body, and he became Spike.
A soul does not mean feelings. You don’t need a soul to love, to feel. Emotions are caused by your heart, your brain, your blood, not the immaterial part of you that lives on after death. What vampires lack is a conscience, and why should they have one? They know right from wrong, but they just don’t care. A vampire can’t have a conscience, because how could they survive if guilt set in every time you ate dinner because it looked like you? Eating their natural food source doesn’t make a vampire evil. Humans are not considered evil for eating cows.
What makes a vampire evil is cruelty. Every vampire is different and shouldn’t be grouped into the same spot. Darla is different from Harmony, Angelus and Spike different. Angelus was more evil as a vampire than any other because of what he did to his victims. What he considered ‘art’.
Angel says, ‘I was only in it for the evil. I would have considered Dana a masterpiece.’ His cruelty towards his victims made him more evil than the rest.
Spike’s look at being a vampire was that it made him strong, top of the food chain. It was a rush for him. ‘For a demon, I never really thought about the nature of evil. I was in it for the rush, the crunch. Never looked back at the victims.’
Buffy needs to look at demons in a black and white way to survive, to be good at her slaying. She wouldn’t have survived long if every vampire she met she stopped to think, ‘can he be good?’
In the second episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayers, Giles tells Buffy and the gang about the demon soul that lives in a vampire. They had souls than, and only after Angel became a regular did the soul/soulless theory come into being.
Dawn is a good being, but does she have a soul? She was once a mystical green energy, but while the monks could manufacture her body using Buffy’s blood, that doesn’t mean they could give her a soul. She didn’t need it. Memories of being raised as a good person determined who she grew up to be.
A soul is not a conscience, it is not something that gives you a sense of right and wrong. Right and wrong is taught to people, and every culture has a different idea of what right and wrong is. Some cultures thought that it was perfectly okay for a boy’s first sexual experience was to be with another man, other’s think that a woman should not have sex until marriage. Some think it is within their rights to stone a woman to death for ‘allowing’ herself to be raped. Right and wrong is something you learn, experiences shape who you are.
You’re experience as a vampire, the flashbacks of Angelus molding William into Spike, shape who you are. Willow as her vampire double is much the same as when Willow went evil in season six. Vampire Willow is Willow with all her inhibitions gone, her conscience silenced, and her darker emotions brought forth, but who still seemed just as fond, loving, of Vampire Xander. In that episode Angel was even about to contradict what Buffy was telling Willow about her vampire version not being her, before he was silenced by her from a look.
Not all demons are evil. Clem is not evil, unless you count him eating kittens, which is no different than people eating dogs in China. Lorne is not evil. Lorne is nicer than many humans, and more passive as well.
Humans have souls, but still do evil. Giles killed Ben, and despite that he did it for good reasons it is still against the law. Faith got driven over the edge by her own darker nature, but she managed with some help to bring herself back. Warren is evil, he shot and killed Tara, mind wiped his ex-girlfriend to make her his sex slave, and than killed her. Buffy's darker nature has even been brought out in the series. In the episode Ted she beats her mother's new boyfriend and thinks she killed him when she lost control before they discover he's a robot. It still wasn't a good thing to do, but it's brushed off once it was discovered Ted wasn't human, which isn't right. Buffy has a tendency to hit first, ask questions later, and that is a problem. Not to mention the end of Dead Things.
Angel and Angelus are not separate people. Angelus is always in Angel, always there, a part of him. If he wasn’t, than Angel wouldn’t need redemption for Angelus’ sins. He would have just been using the body, he wouldn’t be needing to atone for the things that past owner did. They are one and the same. Angelus could love, just like Spike could love, just like Drusilla could love, just like Darla could love. He loved Darla darkly and possessively and it was a selfish love. You see his concern for her in the Girl in Question. But, he still put himself first, which was why he would abandon her if need be.
Many instances in the show, every vampire besides Angel, even Angel himself contradicts the black and white view of the soul/no soul feelings theory. When Angel first got the soul, he didn’t switch on a light and become a champion. He crawled back to Darla and stayed with her. When she threw him out he then spent the next eighty years feeling sorry for himself, not becoming a champion. The thing that started him on his path to redemption was, like Spike, Buffy. Not his soul.