Severus Snape : The Complexity and Unconventional Heroism of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter Books

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Institutionen för språk, litteratur och interkultur

Author: Emma Gustafsson; [2016]

Keywords: Rowling; Severus Snape; Harry Potter; Heroism;


Being an evildoer and being evil is not always the same thing; author J.K Rowling’s character Professor Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series is balancing on that very line. Although being unfair and mean to the protagonist Harry Potter all through the series, Professor Snape is revealed as a hero in the seventh book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007). This essay focuses on some of the complex psychological reasons as to why Snape acts the way he does towards Harry and why many readers consider him to be just as great a hero as the protagonist. It argues that his difficult upbringing is the cause of his complexity and the series of books are analyzed from a structuralist perspective, using A.J Greimas’ actantial model and Frank Kermode’s theories about endings and plot twists. Snape’s hate for Harry’s father, caused by years of bullying, is examined as well as his love for Harry’s mother. This essay also discusses in what ways Snape’s change of allegiance, brought on by his eternal love for Harry’s mother, is a great aid in defeating the Dark Lord.

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