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Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero



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  #101  
Old February 14th, 2010, 2:52 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by ignisia View Post
Having just finished my reread of Wuthering Heights, I have a lot to say.

After taking another look, I am even more astonished at how often Snape and Heathcliff are compared.
Though they share some basic plot-and-character-related similarities, they are almost like foils in morality. Heathcliff makes Snape look like an angel.

While they are both mistreated and looked upon with scorn as children, and are both embittered and damaged by this, Heathcliff is the one who makes it practically his life's work to bring everyone else around him down. Only in his last few days does he bring his plans to a halt. But even then, this redemption (if it can be so called) is far more passive than it is active. Heathcliff retires to his room, awaiting death and the ghost of Catherine, rather than attempting to right the wrongs he has committed. In fact, he even says to Nelly that he does not believe he has done any wrong:

While some corner of his conscience is aware of what he has done and plagues him, Heathcliff himself does not seem to want to accept his own guilt. He is too fixated on the end he knows is drawing near to even think about much else.

Perhaps he had some help from Dumbledore, but Snape was able to channel his guilt and grief into some useful purpose (protecting Harry). He did not, in his rage and agony, attempt to gain control over anything more than his own classroom.

There is also a difference in what love inspired in them. In Heathcliff's case, very little, it seems. Even while Catherine is still alive and in love with him, it does not give him solace enough to stop his vengeful plans. In fact, even as he claims that the sight of Catherine has driven those plans from his mind (WH, 85) he continues to bring Hareton lower and drive Hindley into debt and debauchery.

Around the end, the constant appearance of what must be her ghost does place a burden on Heathcliff's conscience, but it is far too little and far too late.

Snape's love for Lily allowed him to become a better man, even if her marriage did hurt and anger him. In that sense, that love is far more similar to Hareton's love for Catherine II. Hareton, at least, attempts to better himself so that Cathy will not be ashamed of him and tease him (I am aware, however, that the parallel is not exact).
While there are some external similarities between Snape and Heathcliff, that's where I think the similarities end - on the outside.

As you mentioned, Heathcliff makes Snape look like an angel. There is nothing, imo, redeeming about Heathcliff. His entire motivation is hatred and vengeance and tearing down and destroying. Heathcliff is both physically and mentally sadistic. He is an abuser in every sense of the word. While JKR has described Snape as "sadistic," if you put him side-by-side with Heathcliff (a true sadist) Snape very quickly becomes merely a snarky guy who likes to wear black and enjoys taking points from Gryffindor. Wow.

While I do have sympathy for what young Heathcliff suffered, I have no sympathy for how adult Heathcliff turned out. He made the wrong choices and did nothing to redeem them.

Young Severus also suffered abuse, and he took a very bad turn in his late teens. But he turned to Dumbledore and recovered from the hole he'd dug for himself. While he was not particularly pleasant on the outside, and certainly did not suffer fools gladly, he was devoted to the safety of Harry Potter, the safety of the students at the school, the safety of Dumbledore and his fellow staff members. He was extraordinarily loyal to Dumbledore and to the memory of Lily - which instead of becoming a destructive obsession became a force of liberation for his soul.

The difference between Heathcliff's obsession and Snape's love is that Heathcliff used his obsession as a motivation for destruction, while Dumbledore challenged Snape to use his love as a motivation for protection and goodness. Basically, Dumbledore challenged Snape to rise above destructive obsession and to develop a true and pure love - which took time, but which is revealed ultimately in the Patronus.

Snape may bear the Dark Mark on his arm, but he escapes the darkness. Heathcliff, on the other hand, embraces darkness - though not so much in the sense of the Dark Arts.

Like you, I've been very surprised by the comparisons made between Snape and Heathcliff. I see nothing but very superficial similarities. The cape, perhaps?

Snape is a much better man than Heathcliff is.


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  #102  
Old April 17th, 2010, 5:11 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Soooo...
I was in the library a while ago, and guess what I saw? A shiny copy of The Italian by Ann Radcliffe. I'd read about a character in that book who was considered a precursor to the Byronic Hero, so I decided to check it out.

Before I even begin, I should probably mention that I didn't like the book too well. The main point seemed to be "Hey! Look, bored Brits! Action! Adventure! Foreign names and places!...Plus 100 pages of exposition at the end..."

That said, the character Schedoni had promised to be interesting and definitely was.

Spoilers ahead.

Briefly, The Italian is about two young people, Vivaldi and Ellena, who are in love. Vivaldi's rich family will not let him marry someone like Ellena, who has no money or connections, and so the family throws all sorts of obstacles in their way. Vivaldi's mother, the Marchesa, is aided in her schemes by her confessor, Father Schedoni.

Schedoni is a false name of the Count di Bruno, who murdered his brother and shortly thereafter married his brother's widow. He later finds his wife with another man and, in a jealous rage, somehow gravely injures her and believes he has killed her. He then travels to a far off land and assumes both the habit of a monk and the name Schedoni. Schedoni becomes known as one of the most severe monks in the brotherhood and yet is still tormented by strong emotions that he continually seeks to quell...even to the point of callousness and cruelty.

Quote:
Among his associates no one loved him, many disliked him, and more feared him. His figure was striking, but not so from grace; it was tall, and, though extremely thin, his limbs were large and uncouth, and as he stalked along, wrapped in the black garments of his order, there was something terrible in its air; something almost super-human. His cowl, too, as it threw a shade over the livid paleness of his face, increased its severe character, and gave an effect to his large melancholy eye, which approached to horror. His was not the melancholy of a sensible and wounded heart, but apparently that of a gloomy and ferocious disposition. There was something in his physiognomy extremely singular, and that cannot easily be defined. It bore the traces of many passions, which seemed to have fixed the features they no longer animated. An habitual gloom and severity prevailed over the deep lines of his countenance; and his eyes were so piercing that they seemed to penetrate, at a single glance, into the hearts of men, and to read their most secret thoughts; few persons could support their scrutiny, or even endure to meet them twice.
Sound familiar?

Like Snape, Schedoni seeks to hide his powerful emotions. He is unfriendly and often cold and distant. He has an unsavory past that he wishes to get away from. And then there's that piercing eye that is characteristic among many of the Byronic Heroes that are to come after him.
Both also share the gift of gab. Schedoni spends a large portion of the book manipulating the vindictive Marchesa into doing what he wants her to do. At first, it is to kill Ellena. Later, though, when he discovers that Ellena may be his long-lost daughter (this is starting to sound like a soap opera) and that he might profit from an alliance with Vivaldi's rich family, he throws all his efforts into changing the Marchesa's mind.

But...You might have noticed by now one of the larger differences between the two characters: Snape lacks a moral center to begin with, and then gradually comes to develop a conscience of his own. Schedoni lacks a moral center...and then remains that way throughout the rest of the book. No matter what he is doing, whether it is hurting or helping the protagonists, Schedoni does what his rational mind considers advantageous to himself. At first, he helps the Marchesa because she has promised him riches and glory. Later, he helps Vivaldi and Ellena because he believes their marriage will also bring him riches and glory. His feelings toward Ellena herself are at most only vague shadows of tenderness.

Schedoni does not love. He schemes, lusts, grows angry, sad, is tormented by the past, but he seems incapable of understanding and sharing the feelings of others.
When looking upon Schedoni's features, one sees severity and cruelty, and the monk's actions prove this. What you see is what you get. This is very different from Snape, who does love, and who eventually comes to care about and understand others despite his outward appearance.

Although he shares characteristics of a Byronic Hero, Schedoni is usually considered a Gothic Villain. His machinations lead to trouble for the heroes and to Schedoni's own death.


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  #103  
Old June 19th, 2010, 2:53 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

I would call him a Tragic hero, really. He certainly brought about his own downfall.


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  #104  
Old June 19th, 2010, 6:22 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by loonytick View Post
I would call him a Tragic hero, really. He certainly brought about his own downfall.
Downfall? I wouldn't use that word applied to Snape. His choices made him a Death Eater and a spy, and his loyalty to Dumbledore finally led to his death. It's quite tragical, but I wouldn't call it a downfall.


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  #105  
Old June 19th, 2010, 8:04 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by loonytick View Post
I would call him a Tragic hero, really. He certainly brought about his own downfall.
Downfall? Like the above, I think not. Snape's only major downfall - admittedly, one that impacted the rest of his life - was his loss of Lily. However, in the long term, Snape is in many ways an extremely victorious character who does very little wrong. In many ways, he's more perfect, not to mention ruthlessly efficient, than Dumbledore.

The first point to examine, for me, is what his impact was in the long term. When one really thinks about it, Snape...

- Used Occlumency that was able to resist Voldemort's Legilimens, implying he was mentally more powerful
- Kept himself so secretive that the good guys honestly believed he was with Voldy - therefore preventing Voldy from finding otherwise through reading one of them instead
- Dished out what he had to as Headmaster, even though personally it most likely gave him great pain to harm those rebelling against his enemies
- Makes a difficult potion for the benefit a man whose clique used to mistreat him
- Worked undercover at great personal risk, and in the process presented nearly half of the opportunities Harry had after Dumbledore died to finish his quest
- Contained a curse that was powerful enough to break Dumbledore
- Despite putting on that unpleasant facade, spent every day of his life as a triple agent, risking his life against both the good and bad guys, just to ensure kids (including Harry), along with the rest of the world, could be safe
- Saved the Hogwarts kids from suffering worse wrath from Death Eaters than they needed to in order to, once again, keep up the facade that was the only way of tricking Voldemort
- In a way, tricked Voldemort into missing the "flaw in his plan" and indirectly brought about his end
- Earned the respect of a kid who spent seven years loathing him, enough to name one of his kids after him

I'd call those a major victory in the end, not a downfall. Ultimately, Snape accomplished everything he set out to do, except save Lily.

In many ways, Snape was actually Harry's most tireless father figure. I know from watching my own dad as a single father who had his own emotional tragedies (with a redhead, no less), had to work as many as 24 hours in a row some days just to pay his mortgage and give us good food, as a Brooklyn cop (the extremely stressful, life-risking profession most people wrongly hate and fear, treating them almost as inhuman), then come home to three teenage boys (one of whom wasn't his, but was the redhead's) that ignored or otherwise didn't appreciate him, often speaking disrespectfully towards others (including his girlfriends) about him, yet he still kept doing it, and continues still. He also did all of these with at least six major health issues. In many ways, this describes Snape to me, except that Harry wasn't his kid and he was more prejudiced. But he spent his life looking out for him, saved his life many more times than James saved Snape's, tried to teach him one of his own greatest talents despite immense emotional tension, helped him succeed at one of his most difficult subjects (even if he did verbally bully him), and in the end, even died thinking of Harry first. Notice what his last few phrases to Voldemort were. Snape was ruthless, but he was effective, and unlike Harry's other father figures, he protected him in the background without expecting anything in return for it, not even appreciation. I can almost understand some of his worse behavior in light of what he must have been suffering on a daily basis.

In the end, Snape didn't try to avoid or skirt his responsibilities; he did what he had to, which included a great many things Dumbledore wasn't willing to try. Think about it. If you had switched their positions and if Snape knew what Dumbledore knew, would Snape have left Harry in the dark for 5 years? Snape would have told Harry as soon as he was ready and spent the rest of the time attempting to prepare him, even as Harry resisted the efforts.

Snape's side responsibilities, despite his apparent loathing for them, were also fulfilled pretty effectively, particularly his teaching. If you look past the abusive language, treatment and favoritism (all of which were influenced by his own tragic past - who can blame him for despising Gryffindor after witnessing James' and Sirius' behavior?), Snape displays many of the qualities that a great teacher would have if he weren't so biased. He questions the students and encourages them to come up with their own answers rather than just lecturing to them; this is called constructivism and it's the entire basis for modern education theory. He dedicates a good portion of his class time to hands-on activities where the students actually get involved in the processes. Most of his students, including those whom he mistreated, scored very highly on their OWLs. His classroom management was nothing to shake a stick at. Overall, if he weren't biased and prone to abusive tendencies towards some students, Snape's pure skill in educating and his teaching patterns would be the series' 2nd best, next to Lupin's.


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  #106  
Old June 20th, 2010, 3:26 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Excellent post, APolaris!!! It resumes perfectly all the tragical greatness of Snape.


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  #107  
Old June 20th, 2010, 6:16 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Yes, excellent post. I am in complete agreement about Snape's ultimate triumph. He does sink low at first, but eventually overcomes what caused this fall and becomes a better person.

Often, tragedy involves a man falling from greatness because of some flaw of his own. Snape has flaws, but I don't see only one as playing a huge part in becoming a DE. He had many reasons to side with Voldemort, from his father's possible abuse, to the bullying of James and co., to his camaraderie with Lucius and the other Slytherins. I don't see this fall as being brought about by one specific thing, but, rather, a series of internal and external issues.

Talking of his DE days, I had an interesting thought earlier. From what I've heard, the Byronic Hero has its origins largely in characters like Milton's Satan or Prometheus, both of whom rebelled against the set laws of their world, believing themselves or others hurt and suppressed by these laws. One characteristic of the character type is a disregard for the rules of society (Mr. Rochester is a prime example, believing himself above man's marriage laws). Often, this helps define the character, but Snape, as we see him through Harry's eyes, is actually a huge proponent of rules. The only time we see him breaking those rules is during his DE days, when he (or his comrades, depending on your stance in the "has killed/hasn't killed" issue) breaks not only the laws of man but those of nature. This looks more like his rebellion against the norm than anything else-- the abuse he receives from his peers and possibly his father are condoned in his eyes through the inaction of wizarding society, and it is against them he takes out his anger, disregarding their laws. How he rationalizes it is anyone's guess, but I think his mindset becomes very Us vs. Them: is it Slytherins vs. Gryffindors? The poor vs. the rich? Me vs. Dad? Me vs. Potter? Me vs. the world?

In any case, the transformation from lawbreaker to teacher is pretty profound from this viewpoint, because it indicates a large change in how he views rules.


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  #108  
Old June 21st, 2010, 12:59 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by APolaris
However, in the long term, Snape is in many ways an extremely victorious character who does very little wrong. In many ways, he's more perfect, not to mention ruthlessly efficient, than Dumbledore.
Oh my goodness, APolaris!!! This major point and I think Snape's search to perfect himself (and his soul) is what defines Snape instead of his past sins and failings. Like all Byronic Heroes his main motivation for better or worse is love, and nothing else matters much. In spite of Dumbledore's insistance that Love is the answer to all questions, it is Snape who consistantly tries to do the right thing. I say consistant because unlike Draco and Harry, we never see Snape do an Unforgivable - he tells Harry not to do it. Dumbledore never tells him that! In fact, Dumbledore just preaches that Harry has to kill Voldemort or be killed. Which is why it is so satisfying that Harry used Snape's spell (Expelliarmus) for the death blow to Voldemort instead of Avada Kedavra. What's more, Dumbledore tells Snape to kill him, and the only way to definitively do that in front of the other DEs is an Unforgivable, but that's okay because, oh well, Snape's soul will heal again. Even Snape doesn't buy it and realizes that Dumbledore is just using him as a tool, and eventually Harry comes to the same conclusion about himself.

So in terms of "goodness" I would list Snape first, Harry second, and Dumbledore a far distant fifteenth or twentieth behind Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Dobby, Neville, Luna, and several other characters.

Dumbledore clearly craved the power of the Deathly Hallows until he put on the horcrux ring in HBP and nearly ended his own life - such a silly selfish thing to do at such a time when Harry should have been his focus. I love the fact that Snape gives him a lecture about how he shouldn't have put it on. Maybe JKR was trying to show that Dumbledore wasn't a super-wizard like a Gandalf, but he wasn't just man either. He wanted to be Master of Death, and he tells Harry that point blank.

Dumbledore took the Cloak of Invisibility away from James and Lily at a time when they could have hidden underneath it and saved themselves, all the while telling Snape he was doing the best he could to protect them. But Dumbledore also missed Peter Pettigrew's treachery, the Marauders being Animagi, and the fact that Bathilda Bagshot was spreading rumors and doubt about him while having tea with the Potters in their supposedly "safe" house. Then when Sirius was arrested, Dumbledore apparently never asked him about what really happened. None of it makes any sense, and Snape showed tremendous forgiveness towards Dumbledore in overlooking all those mistakes.

Snape never craved that power, for all the blather in the books about Slytherins wanting fame and glory.

And that's why I love Snape in Deathly Hallows. He never was Master of the Elder Wand, and he never wanted to be. Dumbledore on the other hand held onto that Wand as long as he could, then tried to shove it off on Snape, probably knowing that Voldemort would come after him instead of Harry! It's almost diabolical that Dumbledore would set it up that way, and the only thing that saves the whole thing from being truly evil is that Snape sealed his own fate by helping Narcissa and Draco with the Unbreakable Vow. In being chivalrous to Narcissa, Snape certainly put himself on equal footing with Dumbledore who offered to help the entire Malfoy family and hide them away from Voldemort.

I could write about this all day, but I think you've hit the nail on the head.


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  #109  
Old June 23rd, 2010, 2:52 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

I've just spent some time reading and digesting the previous posts. They have been outstanding.

APolaris and SIP have done such a beautiful job in the previous two posts of describing Severus' shortcomings and strengths. There's nothing I can add there.

I was struck by JKR's sybolism right from the beginning in portraying Severus, though. The black robes of the Inquisition (Pit and the Penelum), an almost bat-like appearance (Dracula -- questions as to whether he might even be a vampire), the cold aloofness and brooding of the classic Gothic hero. I think he reminded me more of Rochester in Jane Eyre than anyone else. You could almost feel the emotions just under the cold shell that he had built around himeself.

I love the way JKR built the character from the beginning and the way she tried to misdirect the reader on so many occasions. There were times when, although he was my favorite from the beginning, I even began to doubt him.

I think he was beautifully written and will definitely be a character who, although he won't be a house-hold word, will go into literary history as a hero who put everything on the line for love.


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  #110  
Old June 25th, 2010, 5:33 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by silver ink pot View Post
And that's why I love Snape in Deathly Hallows. He never was Master of the Elder Wand, and he never wanted to be. Dumbledore on the other hand held onto that Wand as long as he could, then tried to shove it off on Snape, probably knowing that Voldemort would come after him instead of Harry! It's almost diabolical that Dumbledore would set it up that way, and the only thing that saves the whole thing from being truly evil is that Snape sealed his own fate by helping Narcissa and Draco with the Unbreakable Vow. In being chivalrous to Narcissa, Snape certainly put himself on equal footing with Dumbledore who offered to help the entire Malfoy family and hide them away from Voldemort.
I must say I personally see Snape in DH as a kind of martyr. He suffers a lot - the "good" people despise him while he's working for them, and he has nobody to trust. He's absolutely lonely. I'm glad that at least Harry was able to understand Snape's situation - and that, I believe, was a reason for calling him "the bravest". It was a really heroical kind of bravery, the kind that does not assure any recognition, any reward, only some bitter personal satisfaction, because of the fulfilled vow.


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  #111  
Old June 8th, 2011, 9:02 am
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

Hi peeps

I guess I'll post this here and see if we can add "Everyman" to the discussion, let me know what you think
*************************************************
I sometimes wonder if Jo crafted Snape as a blend of Byronic Hero and Everyman. Perhaps that's why he feels so unique to us. Take this comment from Jo about Snape:

Quote:
"Snape is a complicated man... he's a very—he was a flawed human being, like all of us.
And compare to the figure of Everyman (wikipedia):

Quote:
In literature and drama, the term everyman has come to mean an ordinary individual, with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify easily, and who is often placed in extraordinary circumstances (sounds alot like Harry, too). The name derives from a 15th century English morality play called Everyman.

The contemporary everyman differs greatly from his (or her) medieval counterpart in many respects. While the medieval everyman was devoid of definite marks of individuality to create a universality in the moral message of the play, the contemporary storyteller may use an everyman for amoral, immoral, or demonstrative purposes (This one sounds like Snape )

The everyman character is constructed so that the audience can imagine itself in the same situation without having to possess knowledge, skills, or abilities outside everyday experience. Such characters react realistically in situations that are often taken for granted with traditional heroes.

Alternatively, an Everyman occupies the role of protagonist without being a 'hero' and without necessarily being a round character or a dynamic character. In this scenario, the Everyman is developed like a secondary character, but the character's near omnipresence within the narrative shifts the focus from character development to events and story lines surrounding the character.(This sounds like Snape as well ) Some audiences or readers may project themselves into this character, if no dominant characteristic of the Everyman prevents them from doing so (I think the "Trust Snapers" are less bothered by his callousness, whatever the reasons may be) Others may ignore the character and concentrate on the story arc, the visual imagery, the irony or satire, and any other aspect of the story which the orchestrator(s) of the story have focused upon or, indeed, whatever personally interests the reader.
The morality play "Everyman" is from the Christian tradition, so Everyman's story is all about confession of sins and moral duty as the path to salvation. I see some parallels with Snape's confession to Dumbledore about the Prophecy and his commitment to protect Harry after Lily died. Dumbledore also reminds Snape of his "life debt" to James (reinforcing moral duty). Dumbledore would be a conglomerate of the different people that Everyman receives counsel from.

Jo has also stated that the entire series is built around Snape & Dumbledore:

Quote:
Of interest are her comments regarding the plot lines and several of the characters. The Harry Potter author said some of the less crucial story lines were not always planned right from the begining and evolved as she went along, “But the big ones, the Dumbledore storyline, the Snape storyline were always there because you — the series is built around those.”
And Jo also says that she wanted Snape to find redemption:

Quote:
JKR: I knew from the beginning what Snape was. Do I think he's a hero? To a point, I do, but he's not an unequivocally good character. 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.
And in the Christian allegory, Everyman does find salvation/redemption through one thing and one thing alone: Good Deeds

Personally, what I think is so infuriating about Snape is that he manages to BE redeemable, without EVER actually being admirable! It's strangely hilarious, but I think Jo really did pull that off with him...

I think it'd be fun to explore Snape as a hybrid "Byronic Everyman" if there is such a thing (not sure if this theory has been tossed around & discarded, though. Nevermind & my apologies if it has!)


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  #112  
Old June 8th, 2011, 7:58 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

I rarely visit this thread - comparisons aren't really my thing - but I like this idea of your that he is a blend of these two. I think it is more likely to be true than that Snape is a "Byronic Hero" alone.


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  #113  
Old June 8th, 2011, 11:52 pm
iluvsnape17  Female.gif iluvsnape17 is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by Charlotte_Snape View Post
Personally, what I think is so infuriating about Snape is that he manages to BE redeemable, without EVER actually being admirable! )
I wouldn't say that. I think Snape is bravery is certainly admirable; it's clear that Harry admires him in the epilogue. He was clearly redeemed and became, I believe, an admirable man.

I wouldn't call him an everyman particularly. Although I see parallels with the everyman's tale of moral redemption, Snape is far from lacking in individual features. I don't think he represents most people, nor is he especially easy to identify with. He was society's outsider from the outset, experiencing an unpleasant childhood and angst-ridden teenage years filled with a descent into darkness and an agonising unrequited love. He often comes across as bitter, selfish and cruel, though this turns out to not totally be the case (we have to remember that his good actions were, in his own words, down to his obsessive love for Lily rather than his own good nature and want to do the right thing). This mix of characteristics are far from standard and easy to relate to, and I believe it is here that the comparisons to everyman fall down.


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  #114  
Old June 9th, 2011, 1:06 am
Charlotte_Snape  Female.gif Charlotte_Snape is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by iluvsnape17 View Post
I wouldn't say that. I think Snape is bravery is certainly admirable; it's clear that Harry admires him in the epilogue. He was clearly redeemed and became, I believe, an admirable man.
I wrote that in the wee hours of the morning and it doesn't make as much sense now that I read it I think what I meant to say is that he is never really a likeable character for the way he treats Harry, but because of what he does for Harry you end up liking him anyway.

OH! I just found something Jo said about him which is exactly what I was going for

Quote:
"Snape is vindictive, he's cruel. He's not a big man," she insisted "I like him, but I'd also like to slap him hard."
He's not admirable in the way he conducts himself, but he is very noble to dedicate his life to protecting Harry. So, even though you can't excuse his behavior, you can't hold a grudge against him either. You forgive him without being able to excuse him, and that doesn't seem like it should be possible. I was also coming off the hot debate on the Snape thread where it is hard for people to understand why anyone would like Snape, even after TPT.

I guess that's what sparked my imagination about Snape & Everyman. Questions about redemption & judgement & forgiveness in general (ultimately it's just matter of personal opinion, so ::shrugs:

Quote:
This mix of characteristics are far from standard and easy to relate to, and I believe it is here that the comparisons to everyman fall down.
You are right, he's not representative of the majority (so not "everyman") but his life/personality may be representative of a certain minority of people. So not a universal type of personality, but maybe with a parallel journey as everyman. Is that possible?

MAYBE, dunno lol. All in all, more of a half-baked theory I guess. Oh well!

I think mexicant is right, Byronic Hero and maybe some elements of Everyman, but maybe just due to the comlexity of the character.


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  #115  
Old June 30th, 2011, 4:48 pm
snapespet  Female.gif snapespet is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

One of my sister's friends published this article and I wanted to share.

http://www.mapaca.net/almanack/archive/2008/potter.pdf

He is a retired English professor from the College of Staten Island, where my sister also works. He also published a paper about Longbottom but I don't have the link to that.


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  #116  
Old June 30th, 2011, 6:19 pm
MsJPotter  Undisclosed.gif MsJPotter is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by snapespet View Post
One of my sister's friends published this article and I wanted to share.

http://www.mapaca.net/almanack/archive/2008/potter.pdf

He is a retired English professor from the College of Staten Island, where my sister also works. He also published a paper about Longbottom but I don't have the link to that.
Interesting article. The big problem with it is he gets facts wrong;


Quote:
"While a student at Hogwarts he had a lively interest in the Dark Arts and despite the fact that he was a Mudblood,"

"One of their tricks almost killed Snape, a fact that Snape throws at Harry, adding that the only reason James Potter intervened to stop the trick was because he chickened out. Snape sees no nobility in that action. (That Lily Evans played a role in this reversal, pleading with James not to harm Snape, Harry does not learn until much later; nor does Snape tell him.)"

"Snape would kill Dumbledore in order to spare him the pain and humiliation associated with a fatal disease that the Headmaster received from a curse hidden inside one of the deathly hallows, the ring of Marvolo Gaunt, which he had foolishly put on his finger."

Severus Snape as a Byronic Figure:
Romance in Harry Potter
Richard Currie


I hate little errors like this. If the person writing the article makes mistakes such as Snape's being a half-blood and not a 'Mudblood' or Lily didn't plead with James but rather threatened him and forced him to let Snape down. Also he has the wrong incident. James saved Snape from the Shrieking Shack tunnel rather than Snape's Worst Memory. IMO this is carelessness and it throws the validity of his artcle into doubt. I don't think the writer meant to make mistakes but It does make me wonder how carefully he read the books.
Also I think Snape is about as far away from a Byronic hero as it is possible to get. Ususally the Byronic hero is loved by the object of his 'affections' and he destroys either the loved one or destroys her love for him. Lily never loved Snape, she felt friendship for him.


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  #117  
Old July 2nd, 2011, 7:54 am
eliza101  Female.gif eliza101 is offline
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by MsJPotter View Post
Interesting article. The big problem with it is he gets facts wrong;




I hate little errors like this. If the person writing the article makes mistakes such as Snape's being a half-blood and not a 'Mudblood' or Lily didn't plead with James but rather threatened him and forced him to let Snape down. Also he has the wrong incident. James saved Snape from the Shrieking Shack tunnel rather than Snape's Worst Memory. IMO this is carelessness and it throws the validity of his artcle into doubt. I don't think the writer meant to make mistakes but It does make me wonder how carefully he read the books.
Also I think Snape is about as far away from a Byronic hero as it is possible to get. Ususally the Byronic hero is loved by the object of his 'affections' and he destroys either the loved one or destroys her love for him. Lily never loved Snape, she felt friendship for him.
I have to confess that I laugh when I see anything that referrs to Snape as a Byronic hero. I laugh at Heathcliff being reffered to as one as well. Heathcliff was a cruel, vicious monster and actually Snape was nowhere near as bad as Heathcliff was. I've never understood tha appeal of the so-called Byronic hero. The Byronic hero is usually a selfish, moody jerk who thinks the world owes him a big debt for gracing the world with his presence. Ugh.


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  #118  
Old July 4th, 2011, 3:54 pm
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Re: Severus Snape: Byronic/Gothic Hero

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Originally Posted by eliza101 View Post
I've never understood tha appeal of the so-called Byronic hero. The Byronic hero is usually a selfish, moody jerk who thinks the world owes him a big debt for gracing the world with his presence. Ugh.
Since Captain Wentworth of Persuasion and Edward Rochester of Jane Eyre also fit the Byronic trope, I can't quite agree with this.

Irrespective of our literary likes and dislikes, here is the Wiki definition of the Byronic hero:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byronic_hero

I think that Snape fits a lot of this, but not all of it. Of course, that applies just as much to other 'Byronic heroes'. It's not like they have to tick all the Byronic boxes. Wentworth and Rochester, for example, are very different characters (and I love both!) There is not 'one Byronic size fits all' here, IMO.

From the Wiki list, I found myself ticking a lot of boxes for Snape ...

Arrogant -- This is complicated. More going on here than meets the eye, IMO. Snape the teacher does often seem to be arrogant. He is certainly vastly impatient with slow pupils like Neville (poor Nev!) But we also saw in TPT that Snape as a child was lonely, isolated and inarticulate. We also know he was bullied in school (and then aligned himself with an even bigger bully group, the DEs). It is not uncommon for people with low self-esteem to compensate by appearing to be arrogant. Snape knew he was a brilliant potioneer: that gave him confidence, as did his fascination (and skill) with the Dark Arts.
Cunning and able to adapt - Yes. The double agent and brilliant Occlumens who hoodwinked Voldemort.
Cynical - His persona is. The real Snape, the inner self he keeps hidden, I see as less cynical. (As seen in his rebuke of Phineas Nigellus for calling Hermione a 'Mudblood'.)
Disrespectful of rank and privilege -- hmmm. Not sure about this. Disrespectful of Gryffindor popularity, perhaps?
Emotionally conflicted, bipolar, or moody - oh my goodness me, yes.
Having a distaste for social institutions and norms -- hmmm. Not sure. Snape is rather anti-social, a loner, but that's not the same thing ...
Having a troubled past or suffering from an unnamed crime -- YES.
Intelligent and perceptive -- Yep. Although he can be rather myopic, too. (He is myopic regarding Harry, IMO.)
Jaded, world-weary -- Oh boy, yes.
Mysterious, magnetic and charismatic -- Well, JKR made him mysterious and gave him an alluring speaking voice, not to mention some of the best lines in the series. But he's not charismatic and alluring and what-not in any obvious conventional sense ... which is why I like him!
Seductive and sexually attractive -- No. Not for this Snape fan. Canon Snape struggles mightily with his teenage rivals who are perceived as attractive and popular. And that again is part of his appeal for me. He's the despised, nerdy kid in his youth.
Self-critical and introspective -- Not made explicit in the text, but I find this plausible, given his personality as described, IMO.
Self-destructive -- In his youth, yes. Of course it swas horribly wrong of him to join the DEs. I don't see the same self-destructiveness in him as an adult: on the contrary, I see him working for reform. Although I do think he has a blind spot re: Harry, i.e. refusing (for much of the series, at any rate) to see Harry as nothing else than James Junior.
Socially and sexually dominant -- No. He tries to be, in his youth, but he's no match for his teenage rivals on that score.
Sophisticated and educated -- Sophisticated? I'm not sure Snape cares about that. Educated, yes. And he's often eloquent. This contrasts sharply with his painful inarticulateness as a youth.
Struggling with integrity -- Yes. In his youth and early 20s, absolutely. And as a double agent, IMO ... he struggles mightily with the ethics of killing Dumbledore at DD's request, doesn't he?
Treated as an exile, outcast, or outlaw -- Definitely. As a kid and a teenager. And in the final year of his life at Hogwarts. All part of the act, but it was a heavy price to pay.


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