Snape: Hero or Villain?


Snape is a complicated man.  He’s bitter. He’s … spiteful.  He’s a bully.  All these things are still true of Snape, even at the end of this book.  But was he brave?  Yes, immensely.  

Was he capable of love?  Very definitely.  So he’s— he’s a very— he was a flawed human being, like all of us. 

Harry forgives him—- as we know, from the epilogue, Harry— Harry really sees the good in Snape ultimately. I wanted there to be redemption and I wanted there to be forgiveness.  And Harry forgives, even knowing that until the end Snape loathed him unjustifiably. it’s totally, totally unfair that he loathes him so much but anyway.

JK Rowling, Today Show

There are always two sides within us, the good and the unlikely. As JKR stated, he was a flawed individual just like us. But what he differs from Voldemort is that even when he started with the wrong decision he acted on doing on what he seem is right to correct it, and what he chose to act upon is humanely beneficial to Harry(which was motivated by his selfish and possessive love for Lily). People say that “A hero lies in the eye of the beholder”, we have our own definitions and standards of our ideal hero. 

At first Snape’s loyalty is towards Voldemort but after learning that the prophecy that he shared to Voldemort resulted to Lily Potter’s danger, it made him realize the consequences of his actions. He confessed to Dumbledore the danger the Potters are about to face after being denied by Voldemort when he pleaded that only Lily be spared. So we see he is not that good of a hero to be looked up for, his motives are self-motivated. We learned that Snape was a double agent for both the Order and the Death Eaters, and his brilliance and skills are enough to keep his allegiances intact. People until the very end question Snape’s loyalty to both parties and here are some proofs to Snape’s good side:

Snape’s loyalty to Dumbledore & Dumbledore’s unwavering trust to Snape:

• Dumbledore’s portait tells Snape to hide Gryffindor’s sword in the Forest of Dean where Harry can find it. Snape leads Harry to the sword with his Patronus, a silver doe.

• Dumbledore wanted Snape to be the one to kill him instead of Draco.

• Snape with his knowledge of the Dark Arts countered the curse of the horcrux ring though it could only do a little good.

• Dumbledore vouched for Snape’s loyalty before the Wizengamot

• After Voldemort’s re-birth, Dumbledore gave Snape some sort of grim assignment 

• Snape saves Harry’s (and many other lives) by alerting Dumbledore when he found out that Harry had gone to the Department of Mysteries; Snape does not participate in the battle.

Griefstricken over Lily’s death, Snape reaffirms his allegiance to Dumbledore and promises to protect Harry’s life after knowing that he has Lily's eyes but also tells Dumbledore that no one is to know of his love for Lily. After being denounced by Karkaroff as a Death Eater in the Wizengamot, Dumbledore vouches for his loyalty. From then on he became a double agent for the opposing parties. At first we were completely convinced that he is a bad man and ever loyal to the Dark Lord throughout the first chapters of DH, but after the “silver doe” and the “pensieve” it was revealed that everything that he did was under the orders of Albus Dumbledore. He was indeed a great spy that even Voldemort believed that he was an unwavering deatheater, that in Snape’s death he still have faith of his loyalties towards him, though Harry revealed to Voldemort in the Battle of Hogwarts the real reasons of his loyalty. Also being a spy for Voldemort he has to comply with the ways of the Death Eaters, he had to watch his fellow professor die, curse off George Weasley’s ear, and do some villainous acts. His loyalty to Dumbledore is unquestionable that even though Dumbledore’s orders make him uncomfortable and confounds him because he is not informed about everything, he still follows those orders. And the effort, time, and patience he spent only to protect Harry from harm in those 17 years are not just any mundane sacrifice. Even if he did his best to keep Harry from harm, he simultaneously torment him in classes and in detentions, that is because he still see him as James Potter’s son. Although his motives are utterly selfish and wrong, the results of these still saved Harry and all of this is because of his unrequited love for Lily. If Harry wasn’t Lily’s son do you think he would have done those things? I believe not. The strength of that love moved mountains, saved people, and changed lives. I believe that love is the primary reason of his change of heart. In my own opinion I believe he is an Anti-Hero and a bit of a tragic-hero, he is a hero in a sense that he did great courageous and brave acts but contrary to that he is still prejudiced, tormenting, vindictive, bias, bully, nasty,  selfish and to sum up he is a hero in a sense that he has many flaws. 


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