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Severus Snape is a hero

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/1/2016 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 198 times Debate No: 94344
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Severus Snape is a hero, please join if you disagree


Severus Snape is an extremely complex character, and because of this, it is very difficult to define him as a hero. In this debate, I will present two perspectives regarding his classification. Before any Harry Potter fans revolt against my position, I ask them to hear me out.

1. Snape is NOT a Hero
This perspective acts as a direct counterargument to the resolution my opponent has provided.

a. His past.
As we know, Snape was very knowledgeable in the Dark Arts when he first was accepted to Hogwarts. After being sorted into Slytherin, he befriended a group of blood supremacists, many of whom would go on to become Death Eaters. Presumably because of his father, he displayed a prejudice towards Muggles, even calling Lily a 'Mudblood', which ruined their friendship. Snape joined Lord Voldemort as a Death Eater in the First Wizarding War, and was the one to discover the prophecy regarding the fate of the Dark Lord. At this point, he confides in Dumbledore, promising that he will serve as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix in exchange for Lily's protection. Here's where many would argue that Snape shows his true colors as a hero; my counter to this is that Snape clearly only did what he did for Lily (and ultimately, himself) - in fact, he displays relatively little to no affection towards Harry. And if Neville, another potential 'chosen one', was suspected at first, it is quite obvious that Snape never would have went to Dumbledore in the first place. In other words, his shift of allegiances in the First War were not driven by selflessness or heroism, rather the desire, bordering on obsession, to protect Lily for the sake of his own interests [1].

b. His actions as professor.
Snape insults almost all of his students, often referring to them as 'idiots'. He makes fun of Hermione for her 'large front teeth' and her knowledge. He would show extreme favoritism towards his own house. On the first day of school, he publicly humiliated Harry in front of his new classmates. In fact, Snape himself was Neville's boggart, meaning that Severus Snape frightened Neville more than Lord Voldemort or seeing his parents in the state they were in or even Belatrix Lestrange, whom he knew put his parents in that state in the first place. That really says a lot about Snape's treatment of his students [1].

c. His motivation is redemption rather than heroism.
If you really look at Severus Snape, you can see that the primary motivation for his actions is redemption, in a sense, for ruining his friendship with Lily, and his undying love for her. He only really protects Harry because Harry is Lily's son, and he can see a part of her in him (for example, his eyes). It would seem that the primary reason behind his alliance with Dumbledore and the Order is to contribute to a cause dedicated to defeating Lord Voldemort, or in other words, fight with whom Lily would fight with and avenge her no matter what it costs (including Dumbledore and even himself). It's not exactly heroism, it's more along the lines of fulfilling his own self-interests [1].

To sum it all up, according to this perspective, Snape is not a hero, rather someone who fights only for his own interests.

2. Snape is an Anti-Hero rather than a full-on Hero.
So let's say you're not all that convinced by that last perspective, which simply states that Snape is not a hero. This one may be easier to accept.

As you'll notice in 'Harry Potter', it's hard to sort characters into those who are good and those who are bad just by looking at them. Draco is mean-spirited and arrogant towards others, and he chooses to join his parents in fighting for the Voldemort, but he is morally unable to kill. Dumbledore, the wise, benevolent leader of the Order, has an incredibly dark backstory. Even Harry, the main protagonist, uses two of the three unforgivable curses throughout the series. As Dumbledore says, it is our choices that determine who we are. As I said in the previous perspective, Snapes does fight for the Order. But he only decides to join them because of his own interests, redemption and undying love [2].

Thus, by this perspective, some of Snape's actions could be considered heroic, but his motivations were not; his character (his past, his interests, his interactions with others, especially his students), and more importantly, his choices (as Dumbledore, and ultimately Rowling herself would put it) do not fit the typical archetype of a 'hero'. Thus, Severus Snape is not a hero, nor is he not not a hero. His actions were noble and good, but his motivations were not. Therefore, rather classifying Snape as a hero or not a hero, this perspective views Severus Snape as an anti-hero, which is defined as a "protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure" [3].

The first perspective I provided asserts that Snape is a fighter for his own interests only, and thus is not a hero. The second perspective affirms that some of Snape's actions were noble and perhaps even heroic, though his motivations, his choice/reason to commit these actions is not heroic, thus making Snape an anti-hero. If asked which one I support, I would say the second perspective.


NOTE TO MY OPPONENT: If you would prefer a discussion, I will continue to use both perspectives if you wish. If you would prefer a debate, I will use only the second perspective. If there is any other option you would prefer, please let me know.
Debate Round No. 1
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Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by HeavenlyPanda 2 months ago
Wow, a die hard Harry Potter fan I see.
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