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Severus Snape: The Perfect Byronic Hero
Transcript of Severus Snape: The Perfect Byronic Hero
The Byronic Hero
A Byronic Hero
Angsty. Mysterious. Irresistible.
The world-famous double-agent, Severus Snape, is the perfect Byronic hero. From day one, Snape is so incredibly mysterious (partly due to Dumbledore’s fabulously vague hints) that it is impossible for him to be anything other than Byronic. (Germain).
Elizagolightly. ": Character Break-Down: A Defense of Snape."
Web log post.
Fabulous 35mm-"Does This Make My Film Look Fat?"
N.p., 12 July 2011. Web. 25 May 2014.
Germain, Bronte. "Dark Horse: Byronic Heroes Are Back in Popular
. N.p., 17 Oct. 2013. Web. 21 May 2014.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
Dir. David Yates. Perf.
Daniel Radcliffe, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, and Geraldine Somerville. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., 2011. Film.
Katie J. "Severus Snape: A Tragic Hero." Weblog post.
The Blue Parrot
N.p., 29 July 2012. Web. 25 May 2014.
Lawson, Wyshona D. "The Byronic Hero Lives as Severus Snape!"
Romanticism and Revolution, Romanticism and War.
Nov. 2011. Web. 22 May 2014.
Rowling, J. K.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Scholastic, 2007. Print.
“Look...at...me..." he whispered. The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.” (DH 658)
Originally, I’d thought Snape’s last words were connected with the memories he had just given Harry.
Take this to the pensieve, watch my memories, see who I really am, look at me.
Later, I realized there was a deeper meaning. Snape literally meant
look at me so the last thing I see before I die can be Lily’s eyes...
Dark; handsome in appearance
Internal conflicts are heavily romanticized
Haunted by some secret sin or crime, that sometimes hints at a forbidden love (AKA Lily)
Attitudes/Actions may be considered immoral
Stands apart, yet appeals to society
Wounded or unrewarded, yet superior
Snape could never shake the hatred for the person that not only treated him worse than garbage but also stole the love of his life from him. Therefore, when a newly spawned version of James walks into Hogwarts, it's no surprise that Snape reacts negatively towards him. Harry looks just like Snape's old nemesis, and he does break the rules like James, leading Snape to believe he is just like his father. And of course, Snape projects a lot of his own anger onto Harry. It's not fair of him to do that, but Harry doesn't usually make it easier on Snape, either. Yet despite their differences Snape continuously protects Harry. He was bitter and destroyed; Harry was like all his regrets, his mistakes, and the memory of the woman he lost to his greatest enemy personified. There was so much conflict within Snape every time he interacted with Harry, and yet he risked his life every single day to keep doing it. (Eliza)
Snape had a terrible home life as a child. His parents fought all the time and his father was critical and hateful. He couldn't wait to get out of the house so he didn't have to be around them anymore. This was a child that was not brought up being loved or tended to properly. He had shabby clothes, he wasn't well put together because his parents didn't give him the attention he needed, (Eliza).
"How are things at your house?" Lily asked.
"Fine," he said.
"They're not arguing anymore?"
"Oh yes, they're arguing," said Snape. "But it won't be that long and I'll be gone."
"Doesn't your dad like magic?"
"He doesn't like anything, much," said Snape. (DH667)
Snape was a man who was appallingly cruel to his students. A man who should have been filled to the brim with empathy and yet never showed a trace of it. He was a hypocrite and petty beyond all reason. He became a Death Eater, served Voldemort, and wasted no time before running off to his master with the news of a prophesized child who might prove a threat. Snape’s behavior cannot be excused by his poor upbringing, nor can it be excused by his torment at the hands of James and Sirius. But the fact that Snape loved Lily Evans so deeply that after her death (which he considered himself responsible for), he spent the rest of his life protecting her son and engaging in a deadly game of deception with Voldemort, is unbelievable, (Katie J).
Rowling describes James in comparison to Snape:
"...slight, black-haired like Snape, but with that indefinable air of having been well-cared for, even adored, that Snape so conspicuously lacked" (DH 671).
Snape craved loved, and he found it when he met Lily. But their friendship began deteriorating due to Snape’s fascination with the Dark Arts and Voldemort, not to mention the shady people with whom he’d been hanging around. But the final nail in the coffin for Lily was Snape’s burst of anger in which he called her a Mudblood, (only because he was being harassed by James and Sirius). He knew instantly it was a mistake. He tried to apologize and was desperate for her forgiveness, but Lily had had enough, (Katie J).
The Story Of Snape
A Broken Friendship
A Conflicted Hero
Snape’s brutal death at the fangs of Nagini was so creepy and sudden and totally unnecessary. Voldemort kills Snape in the Shrieking Shack because he believes this will give him power over the Elder Wand. There was nothing shocking about Voldemort doing such a thing, even though he still believed Snape was truly loyal. It probably never even crossed his mind that you don’t actually have to kill your opponent to gain control of their wand; you just have to disarm them. It’s Voldemort, after all, someone who’s split his soul so many times that even the vaguest sense of goodness no longer resides anywhere inside. He’s not the sort who would stop and say,
“Hmmm…do I really have to kill Snape? There must be another way, right? Oh yeah…disarming him would probably work.”
Snape’s murder by Voldemort isn’t surprising; it’s the sheer quietness of the scene. Snape doesn’t go out in a blaze of glory. He’s killed for the sake of convenience, entirely separate from the battle of Hogwarts. He doesn’t even know anyone other than Voldemort witnessed his death until Harry, Ron, and Hermione come out of hiding. Though he can barely speak, one almost gets the sense that Snape’s hatred of Harry melts away right here, that he’s seeing clearly for the first time. He doesn’t waste his breath on anything trivial, (Katie J).
There was nothing for him to gain from this. Lily was gone; it wasn’t as though he could impress her or win her love. He did it because it was the last thing he could do for her, because nobody else could, and because he never stopped loving her. True, it took the trauma and horror of her death for Snape to turn against Voldemort and become possibly the bravest hero in the series. But without that death, he would never have risked his life to take down the Dark Lord. Snape was selfless and brave, and the fact that he would risk everything for Lily, makes him the perfect Byronic Hero, (Katie J).