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Old December 3rd, 2010, 12:03 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Character Analysis Reboot v.3

Quote:
eliza101:

I myself find it very difficult to cast Snape in the role of a Byronic hero. For one thing Snape is neither charming or attractive to women and before I am jumped on, Snape is not Alan Rickman either. Alan Rickman is both charming and attractive and he is not Snape. Charm and attractiveness is part of the characteristics of the Byronic hero. Yellow teeth, greasy stringy hair and bad manners are not. I also find it hard to blame Snape's childhood for his bad traits. At what point does an adult become responsible for his own actions? Just how long can Tobias Snape be blamed for his son's shortcomings? If Tobias is to be blame for Snape being a bully, do we blame Tobias' antecedents for Tobias' shortcomings? Do we go back to the dawn of history to find out why Snape behaved as he did? At some point blame has to be assigned to the person who is doing the bullying and in this case it is Snape. He is a grown man in a position of power over the children in his care and he is abusing it on may occasions. Snape is a grown man who has a choice about how he behaves. I imagine it would be difficult to stop a behavioural pattern that made him fell better, though why he would feel better about hurting children is beyond me. But it could be done. Snape didn't have to fawn over Harry, he could have just treated all the children in his classes the same.
I, for one, was a fan of Professor Severus Snape long before Alan Rickman (who is both very charming and very attractive) played him on screen. I don't tend to mix the Book Snape and Movie Snape up. Book Snape was not attractive or likeable. He was bitter, nasty, aloof, and, to a point, could seem cruel and unfeeling.

But, the reason that I really love the character is his complexity. He's so "not-what-he-seems," and so different (as we see in his saving Harry's life in SS/PS) than Harry perceives him. He has so much emotion simmering under that cold exterior -- which we see on few occasions, but, when we do, it's usually cap lock time. He has a dark past, but is deeply trusted by the most powerful wizard of the day, Albus Dumbledore. He appears to be a loner, but, we learn that he had a special friendship, once. He is so many things rolled up in a snarky package. That is why I like him. Not because he is Alan Rickman in a wig, but, because he is a wonderful puzzle of a character.

I don't think analysis of a character is geared to "assigning blame," but, rather to trying to understand what possibly makes a character act the way he or she does. I think it's been made very clear that Severus Snape was responsible for his own actions. What we are trying to discern my analyzing his character are possible reasons for those actions, not excuses for them.

It's a lot of fun to dig into a character and try to find out what makes them tick. It's interesting to speculate on what might have happened in their past to make them the way they are, especially when there are so few clues, as in Severus' case.

I agree with MistressofRaven:

Quote:
I think he fits the Byronic Hero role very well. He's arrogant, cynical, has a dark history, considered morally bankrupt by many, a loner, loves someone he can never be with, etc. While he may not have been considered very attractive, does any character ever perfectly fit its label? No
.

I think she's right. Also, wouldn't it be a bit boring if all of the "Byronic Heroes" fit the label exactly? I, for one, would get tired of them pretty quickly. So, why not throw in some not-so-good looks and a snarky temperament to keep things intersting. And, like him or not, I think most readers would admit that Severus is one of the most interesting characters in the entire series.


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