Character Analysis: Severus Snape

-Known as one of the most complex characters in the series, Severus Snape was portrayed as an unfair professor with a deep hatred for Harry’s father. He was described as a greasy-haired man with a bat-like aura and a big nose. The moment that Harry and Snape first looked at each other, Harry thought that Snape hated him, and that turned out to be true. Snape did his best to humiliate Harry in front of the class, and therefore he was disliked not only by Harry, but also by the readers of the Harry Potter series. Later, we find out that Snape hated Harry, because of Harry’s father.

Severus Snape as a child

-It seems to me that Snape’s character was entirely shaped by his quite rough childhood. His Muggle father was cruel, and abused him and his mother. He had to live with an angry father, and a mother who couldn’t protect him. Since his early childhood, Snape had a deep feeling of inferiority and powerlessness. Therefore, he developed a low self-esteem and a deep desire for power. As he was being abused by his father, Snape probably felt depressed, and therefore came to conclusion that the world is a cruel place. He probably felt that life is unfair and that there is no justice. The only way he could escape from that unhappy place, he thought, is to become stronger and more powerful, even if he has to become a bad person in order to achieve that, and that was the reason why Snape was so interested in the Dark Arts. Snape thought that by learning the Dark Arts, no one would hurt him, and he would be even respected. The fact that his abusive father was a Muggle taught him that maybe all Muggles are useless and pathetic. Snape projected his hatred of father on all Muggles and Muggleborns, with Lily being the exception.

His only love: Lily Evans

-Being born in an unhappy family, Snape saw in Lily everything he longed for, and everything he didn’t have in his life: joy, friendship, innocence and love. Lily was the beam of light in his dark  childhood. Lily didn’t care that he was poor and had awful clothes; Lily didn’t care about Snape’s appearance; she only saw him as himself.

-But even then,  Snape felt inferior. He thought that he still wasn’t good enough for her, and that Lily wouldn’t fall for him, if he wasn’t powerful enough, and that’s why he became even more enamored of the Dark Arts. His deep sense of inferiority also made him seek power by befriending people who thought like him: that Muggleborns didn’t deserve to study magic or practice it. These became the hindrance between him and Lily, and instead of making her fall in love with him, they pushed her away from him. No matter how much he loved Lily, his childhood and the feeling that he wasn’t strong enough, trumped everything in him. And again he projected his feelings. Instead of seeing his faults, he blamed James Potter. Lily disliked James Potter ,and she was Snape’s friend. Snape had a much higher chance on being Lily’s boyfriend than James Potter.

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Lack of hygiene

-Another thing which I’d like to mention about Snape is his lack of hygiene. Snape was often described as a man with greasy-hair and yellow teeth. Even in his teenage-hood he was the same. I think that this was as a result of his low self-esteem. He probably thought of himself as an ugly person. Another theory is that Snape had depression. One of less known symptoms of depression(Generally speaking! I know that there are many kinds of depression.) is lack of hygiene. Snape probably had low energy and will of life, which were manifested by not taking care of his appearance, being grumpy, and a generally pessimistic view on life; as we know he once said to Harry Potter that ‘life isn’t fair.’

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Snape’s sense of morality

-When it comes to ‘Is-Snape-good-or-bad’, I think that Snape thinks that no one is actually fair and that being unfair is a normal expected thing in this world. He often prioritized the ones from whom he could benefit, and was downright rude to many. One of the main things in his psyche is his tendency to project. He blamed Potter, Dumbledore, the world, for his failures. I don’t think he cared if others saw him as a bad person. He enjoyed being an authoritarian and displaying his power.

-However, Snape was loyal and not-traitorous. He proved that he was immensely loyal to the ‘Order of Phoenix’, and not to mention brave. I think that Snape would never betray his close friends, if he had any.

-One thing that differs Voldemort from Snape, despite them both being Capricorn Suns is that Snape would never kill someone in order to produce a horcrux. Also, I’m  sure that Snape didn’t kill anyone before Dumbledore.

-Overall, I think Snape didn’t mind at all being mean to the people he hated or disliked, and on the other hand, he is capable of being loyal and very reliable. Snape doesn’t have any problems hurting innocent animals, and projecting his anger to the ones who don’t deserve it, for example: Harry, Neville, Hermione,etc.

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Snape as a Capricorn

-Severus Snape was born on the 9th January 1960, and that makes him a Capricorn. Capricorn Suns are known to be serious, ambitious, and materialistic. Snape is quite serious and ambitious. He kept insisting, even after being turned down many times, that he’d become the Professor of ‘Defense against the Dark Arts.’Another trait of Capricorns, which every Capricorn Sun have is that they can become quite pessimistic and often complain that life isn’t fair and that’s just the way the world is, and Snape was no exception.

Snape’s name origin

-Snape was named after Lucius Septimius Severus, who was a Roman emperor born in the modern Libya. Lucius Septimius Severus was the first African Roman emperor ever. However, Snape is a village in the North Yorkshire. It has a castle named Snape castle, which was owned by the Neville family.

-Finally, I think that Severus Snape is a complex character, who was completely shaped by his childhood trauma and his love for Lily. If those didn’t exist, he would’ve been a completely different person. Snape could never get over his inferiority complex developed during childhood, and he was still bitter, after so many years, over the fact that he was bullied. By this character, I think that the author wanted to show us how sometimes childhood trauma and abuse can determine what the person will be in the future, and how important is for us to accept responsibility for our life, instead of putting all the blame on someone or society in general. However, even though Harry was abused by his relative, he never sought power in the Dark Arts or become as bitter as Snape was. But, maybe the fact that Snape was abused by his father and not his relatives is quite important, since father plays a much important role in one’s development.Also, I think that what the author wanted to tell us is that holding on to the past isn’t good.

Questions I have for this character

DrunkSnape

  1. How Snape acts when drunk?
  2. Did Snape have any cousins?
  3. Was Snape an atheist?
  4. What is Snape’s ascendant?
  5. What does Luna think of Snape?

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3 thoughts on “Character Analysis: Severus Snape

  1. Good analysis!I think Luna would have felt that Snape was a person who just needed help and love from the others.She might have even made a memorial in his name after his death.

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