The Buffy universe is based on humanism. If you are not familiar with the term it is explained on the page dealing with the beliefs of Joss Whedon. This attitude does not coexist easily in a world predetermined by prophecy. What is the nature of free will if your acts are chosen beforehand? There are a number of examples of prophecies being used in the Buffy universe and a series of failed attempts to thwart prophecy. One memorable example is contained in the first season of Buffy. In the finale of the first season, the episode Prophecy girl, Buffy learns of a prophecy that she will die at the hands of the Master, a powerful vampire. This sets into motion a confrontation between Buffy and the Master resulting in her death. However it is only because she sought the master out and entered his prison that he was able to drink her blood giving him the strength to escape. For those who have not seen the episode the video below gives some indication of the events that occur.

In trying to prevent the prophecy Buffy unknowingly brings it about. This idea that higher beings can predict human action and control their future is not something that Joss Whedon is comfortable with, as seen by the season 4 conflict with Jasmine.

Jasmine is one of the Powers That Be (Higher beings who have a generally hands-off policy regarding the human realm). Jasmine decides she is unwilling to accept this policy and through a series of complex manipulations manifests on earth with the intent of bringing about world peace. However, the means by which she plans to this involves stealing the free will of humanity. The moral struggle of the season is summed up in the quote below.

JASMINE: I offered paradise; you chose this. ANGEL: Because I could. Because thats what you took away from us: choice. JASMINE: And look what free will has gotten you. ANGEL: Hey, I didnt say were smart. I said its our right. Its what makes us human. (Peace Out, 4-21)

However ultimately despite manipulating human events for millennia and foreseeing virtually every even of importance in the entire series before she assumed human form, Jasmine’s plan ultimately failed. Jasmine fails to foresee her own defeat and death and despite her godlike ability to predict and control events leading to her rise to power, she ultimately fails in her goals.

Both Buffy and Angel are series about standing up to the odds and doing what is right. Angel ends with an uncertain future Angel and his friends making a stand against impossible odds but still fighting the good fight. Buffy ends with Buffy and her friends overcoming the embodiment of all evil and breaking a millennia old system of patriarchy to share power with girls are over the world. Both shows to the end deny the idea of giving up or caving in to superior knowledge. The humanist attitude in a deterministic universe still struggles for freedom as is best summed up in the quote from the show angel below

The final score cant be rigged. I dont care how many players you grease; that final shot always comes up a question mark. But heres the thing: you never know when you take it. Could be when youre duking it out with the legion of doom, or when youre just crossing the street deciding where to have brunch. So you just treat it all like it was up to you-the world in the balance, cuz you never know when it is. (Angel, Inside Out, 4-17)

In the Buffy universe there are godlike beings capable of stealing free will and ancient prophecies that hold your destiny. However the moral of how to deal with these things is made clear, stand up to them, do what is right and try to forge your own path no matter what is against you. In the works presented by Joss Whedon prophecy and the will of Higher beings are not things to be accepted but to be fought against in the name of humanity and individuality.

My source for the preperation of this page was Davidson, Joy.2007. Psychology of Joss Whedon : an unauthorized exploration of Buffy, Angel, and Firefl.


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