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Severus Snape: Also a Tragic Hero?

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Kathy Nguyen

on 8 October 2013

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Transcript of Severus Snape: Also a Tragic Hero?

Severus Snape: Also a Tragic Hero?
Noble Birth/Nature
He is a wizard, something that many people in the world cannot become. Just like how royalty is at a place normal people cannot reach, so is this the case with magic. Therefore one can consider that a wizard is like a noble. In addition, he is a loyal, trustworthy, dedicated man, whose features people would acknowledge and appreciate him for. He is Dumbledore’s right hand advisor and so that authenticates his nobility.
Hamartia
His main flaw is that he is a double agent, his loyalty lies with Dumbledore at first glance, yet he is part of the antagonist’s team, so he seems evil. This flaw, eventually leads to his death at the antagonist’s hands. He loves Lily Potter, Harry’s mother, and he only helps Harry out, out of love for Lily. This love that makes him help Harry also leads to his downfall as it is the reason why he becomes a double agent and that kills him.
Mental/Spiritual/Physical Wound
He had to see the girl he loved marry the man he hated, had to see her die at the hands of the antagonist. This death is constantly relived every time he sees the protagonist, and so it acts as mental wound for him. Physical pain would be as he is bitten repeatedly by a viper when the antagonist decides to dispose of a pawn whose use is over. He is also forced to kill the man who he gave his loyalty to because he promised to do whatever the man said. It emotionally scarred him as he had to kill his ally and the guilt inside began to build up and hurt him.
Tragic Fall
After he kills Dumbledore, he becomes the Headmaster at Hogwarts, which can be compared to becoming king of a country. From this position, he is not trusted by anyone and hated by all the protagonists. This deep distrust can be referred to as a fall from grace, just like in Macbeth. In addition, when the forces of good rebel against him, he ends up being killed by the antagonist. His fall ends with his death.
Catharsis
We feel pity as the woman that he loves is taken from him by the man that bullied him. Furthermore, he had to see the women that he loved cold and dead, long gone. Then, he was forced to play double agent and risk his life in order for good to become triumphant. He died a horrible death; he died in vain as the antagonist believed that by killing Snape, he would further gain power. In reality, this was not the case, he never had that power and so his death was unnecessary.
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