Inspired by @CJ. So I stopped myself from writing an essay in the comments and figured I'd just make my own list. ✨SPOILERS✨
  1. So let's compare them, starting from the beginning.
  2. Angel: living in the 17th century as a drunk low-key douche bag. When he's turned into a vamp his violence is legendary.
  3. When he is cursed with a soul, it turns him into the lovable skulking vampire we're first introduced to.
    He's basically a puppy that drinks blood.
  4. Spike: Spike living in the 1800s as a kind of loser poet. When he is turned he is almost equally as violent as Angel.
  5. He is soulless through most of the show, but even without the soul he goes soft and makes uneasy alliances with the Scoobies in later seasons.
    Which is redeemable and something that Angleus would never EVER do.
  6. He then fights to win his soul back, and is successful
    But the transformation from soulless Spike to soul Spike isn't nearly as drastic as Angelus vs Angle— Spike for the most part is still Spike, but... with soul.
  7. So what is a soul?
    In terms of the Buffyverse, the soul is basically someone's conscience. The idea is that without it you're a demon.
  8. The interesting thing about demons in the Buffyverse though is that they aren't all bad guys.
    Which really complicates the politics of Buffy's slaying, especially when you get characters like Clem. And then there's the whole Initiative thing and in Angel we REALLY dive into to the politics of it, but I'm getting distracted. Let's stay focused.
  9. Basically what the idea gets down to is if a demon is threatening to humans— they're bad and you can kill them.
  10. Angelus = bad
    Angel = good
  11. But Spike...?
    While soulless he IS harmful to humans, he isn't all around bad. He's somewhere in the middle.
  12. But what does that really say about who they are?
    This is where it get's REALLY interesting. Because if we compare who they were before they were sired, Spike wins morally. Spike also wins morally as a vampire, which says that he just isn't as capable of as much evil as Angel is in general.
  13. But WITH souls, Angel wins morally.
    But Angel is only so morally conscious BECAUSE of the terrible things he did as Angelus. There's a great quote from season one that kind of describes the core of his character: "You have no idea what it's like to have done the things that I have done, and care."
  14. So Angel's moral compass is just more ingrained into his soul than Spike's is.
    But is that a positive or negative thing?
  15. There is of course, the rape thing. Which is also super complicated.
    Because here's the thing: that kind of thing isn't redeemable or excusable. But there are a lot of factors that went into that situation that make it too complicated to say that Spike was beyond redemption after that. Buffy was always his equal physically, actually stronger than he was, and it probably never crossed his mind that he could do anything to her that she wasn't okay with, because she would've just kicked his butt. He didn't realize what boundary he was overstepping.
  16. Regardless: there was a line crossed then.
    Even if he didn't mean to cross it— it still says something about their relationship and how messed up it was.
  17. But really is the Buffy/Angel relationship any better?
    From a story telling point I would say no because I find them super boring, but that aside, even though he's harmless with his soul, there's still always that threat that he could turn into Angelus, which isn't really a good relationship base either.
  18. So in reality you get two guys who aren't really heroes OR villains.
    Which I think I pretty close to real life. No one is perfect, but there are good sides to people too.
  19. I'll leave you with this gif of them holding hands to brighten your day 💕