Severus Snape

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The character Severus Snape in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga is often seen as a polarizing figure expressing a duality of conduct vacillating between elements of villainy and heroism. While earlier volumes of the series portray the majority of the negative character traits which are often thought of as essential to the character of Snape later volumes begin to shift the role of Snape from lesser villain to that of mentor, advocate, and sacrifice both in will and flesh. The polarizing elements of Severus Snape occur primarily among fans of the series, with readers either holding feelings of contempt for Snape or admiration. The following will examine this duality of character and persona and make the argument for Snape as an antiheroic figure.…show more content…
Rowling describes the complex nature of her character Snape, remarking that was “a complicated man . . . He’s bitter. He’s spiteful. He’s a bully . . . he was a flawed human being, like all of us” (“Final Chapter”). As the series progresses, these flaws become what give Snape’s character a relatable and distinctly human quality. Snape’s bitterness and rage are the products of ridicule and abuse sustained by the father, godfather, and mentor of the story’s hero Harry, as well as the unrequited love of Harry’s mother who’s memory and interests Snape defends until death. These relationships advance the classification of Snape as antihero through presenting the struggle of the antiheroic figure against many of the series’ protagonists. These negative feelings of anger and jealousy contrasted against the unwavering love resonate strongly with the audience to an extent that even if one does not like Snape’s character, one can indeed sympathize with…show more content…
Rowling’s response to the question, “Do you think Snape is a hero?” during a 2007 web chat sponsored by the publisher Bloomsbury to which she remarks: “Yes, I do; though a very flawed hero. An anti-hero, perhaps. He is not a particularly like-able man in many ways. He remains rather cruel, a bully, riddled with bitterness and insecurity — and yet he loved, and showed loyalty to that love and, ultimately, laid down his life because of it. That’s pretty heroic! (Bloomsbury)
In this assessment of Snape’s character, Rowling touches on many of the very elements which argue for Snape’s antiheroic qualities. It is undoubtedly the complex nature of Severus Snape which makes him such a polarizing figure in the series, his behavior either inspiring feelings of humor and admiration or outright contempt from the
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