Thanks for replying to this, 'cause I really want to discuss it. It is
a really complicated subject, which is why I like it. This is my thinking about it so far:
I first started thinking about the curse itself. The curse makes absolutely no sense unless the gypsies were 100% certain that the soul would cause the one being cursed to be tormented by guilt. They couldn't simply assume that Angel would have a personality that would make him feel guilty even if he wasn't really responsible. So they had to have reason to believe that Angel was, in fact, responsible for Angelus's acts.
I think the reason is that, with or without a soul, the essential nature of the demon is the same. The dark and evil impulses are always there. It's just that the soul is the moral compass that allows Angel to feel the difference between right and wrong, and allows him to choose to act in accordance with that morality. But the soul doesn't remove the demon or its desire to do evil -- that's what Angel struggles with all the time. We see it as early as the "Angel" episode, when he's obviously tempted to feed on Joyce after she's been fed on by Darla; and we see it much more explicitly in AtS -- in the examples you mention, as well as others -- his desire to try and be Angelus in "Darla," in the Faith mind-walk, etc.
Angel chooses to act differently because of the soul, but he is still the same demon as Angelus. So I don't think he's wrong to hold himself responsible.
.But He coudn't stop Angelus.
I wonder. Spike does a lot of good before he ever gets a soul. And although he has a chip, the chip doesn't stop him from doing evil, it just stops him from physically harming humans. Spike chooses, pre-soul, to try not to be evil -- chooses, in fact, to get a soul. I think this is because Spike retained much more humanity after becoming a vampire than Angel did, and because William was a good man, while Liam, though not evil, was kind of a lazy, drunken lout.
I'm not willing to say he is responable.....in that if I was on a jury...that I would convict him .........He may look like the killer......but he didn't do the killing.
I was thinking about this, because in NY, if you suffer from dissociative (multiple personality) disorder, you are legally responsible, i.e., you can't be found not guilty
by reason of insanity, for a crime committed by a personality other than your dominant personality; the thinking being that all of the personalities are part of you
. Similar to the Angel/Angelus/same demon situation, kind of.
That's my take. I'm open to being convinced otherwise.