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Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince



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  #1  
Old April 9th, 2006, 10:37 pm
Rayjo  Female.gif Rayjo is offline
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Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

Discussion for Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince by B.J. Texan.


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Last edited by Rayjo; April 9th, 2006 at 10:45 pm.
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  #2  
Old April 9th, 2006, 11:10 pm
Beatriceblake  Female.gif Beatriceblake is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

I think this is a really good editorial. I can't see how Snape could be good if he chooses to kill someone and I believe he simply acts so as to further his own interests.


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  #3  
Old April 9th, 2006, 11:19 pm
scouterpuff  Female.gif scouterpuff is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

that idea would be a great end to the series


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  #4  
Old April 9th, 2006, 11:25 pm
Dannixo212  Female.gif Dannixo212 is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

I think that it is very possible that JKR was thinking of Machiavelli's The Prince when she made up Snape because he definitely seems like he is working just for himself. That was a very well-written editorial and a great idea.


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  #5  
Old April 9th, 2006, 11:35 pm
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

Congrats on such a well written essay, first off. I also wonder how far JKR will take the paralells within Machiavelli's Prince to Snape. We do know, from experience and as mentioned in the essay that JKR enjoys to use references from classical literature. What interests me though, is how she never uses it to the full extent meaning that Snape may not actually triumph in the end. He has, however, as the essay says, done so up to this point, but I think that may have been enough for JKR. If she takes the paralels all the way, though, it would be quite interesting.


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Old April 9th, 2006, 11:37 pm
_magic_freak_  Female.gif _magic_freak_ is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

I really enjoyed this editorial. I have to admit that I am not at all familiar with Machiavelli's The Prince, but it certainly seems that it is similar to Snape's actions. The most convincing part to me was the part with Severus the General. If that's a coincidence, I'll eat my arm! Wonderful job on your editorial!


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  #7  
Old April 9th, 2006, 11:52 pm
Aerie  Female.gif Aerie is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

Bravo! What a wonderful theory. I've always thought Snape as being rather diabolical, but your essay certainly puts that into boldface for us all now!


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  #8  
Old April 10th, 2006, 12:01 am
muggleclaw  Female.gif muggleclaw is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

We spent a fair amount of time discussing The Prince in a couple of my classes in high school, so I'm slightly ashamed that I didn't even consider the parallels to Snape before! I appreciated the ample support you gave your arguments through excerpts from both Machiavelli and JKR's writing. I had been holding out hope for Snape's goodness, but I think you may have just convinced me otherwise. Excellent job--you write very well, and quite persuasively! Kudos!


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Old April 10th, 2006, 12:27 am
nononsense  Female.gif nononsense is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

Outstanding editorial. Excellent parallels and thorough explanations. I have to agree with muggleclaw from above. I too had been holding out hope for Snape's ultimate goodness. Not now. At one point in my own mental wanderings, I had considered the possibility that Snape would walk away an ambiguous survivor of the conflict. This editorial has cast an entirely new light on my view. Once Voldemort is gone, a new dark lord must arise. Evil is never truly defeated, only forstalled temporarily. So, perhaps Snape will withdraw, for a time, leaving the threat of his return at some future date.


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Old April 10th, 2006, 12:42 am
silentfawkes  Female.gif silentfawkes is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

excellent thought nononsense!! - evil is always around, either seen or unseen - unseen evil has been the basis of some of the best literature - I seem to side (a bit) with the 'snape is evil' folks - I just got my copy of machiavelli out - since I haven't read it since college (during the stone age) this should prove interesting - great editorial


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  #11  
Old April 10th, 2006, 12:50 am
Shewoman  Female.gif Shewoman is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

I'm in the GoodSnape camp, but I found your editorial well researched and well written. Your analysis of Snape's actions balancing Voldemort and Dumbledore is a credible one, but I don't know that giving Snape the name "Severus" means that Jo intends him to be a replica of the Roman general any more than Fawkes is intended to be Guy (but if the Phoenix blows up Parliament--or gets involved with Natalie Portman--I will recant).


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  #12  
Old April 10th, 2006, 1:49 am
ReachfulHP88  Undisclosed.gif ReachfulHP88 is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

I love all the effort and time its apparent you spent on this! It raises some excellent points, I believe firmly that Snape is playing both sides, and is totally in control of his own destiny
-Petey


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  #13  
Old April 10th, 2006, 1:58 am
OldMrToad  Male.gif OldMrToad is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

Wow! I hadn't made the parallels to "The Prince" either. Don't let JKR see this editorial, she'll have an attack..

Severus Snape.... Emporer of Evil.

OMT


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  #14  
Old April 10th, 2006, 1:58 am
kalb kalb is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

great editorial.


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  #15  
Old April 10th, 2006, 2:12 am
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

Absolutely ingenious. Your theory makes sense to me as no other theory related to Snape have ever had.


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  #16  
Old April 10th, 2006, 2:56 am
jkwasny9  Male.gif jkwasny9 is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

I really liked this editorial. It made a lot of sense, and actually helped me to figure out what i think is going on with snape more than any of the others that i have read.


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  #17  
Old April 10th, 2006, 3:55 am
Aluna  Undisclosed.gif Aluna is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

I second Shewoman -- historical and literary parallels, especially when they are that glaring, are to be taken with a grain of salt. I believe that the references to The Prince and to Emperor Severus are perfectly valid in some ways. However, as much as they are useful, they can be a hundred times more deceptive... In "Spinner's End," Snape uses a combination of truths, partial truths, and lies in his effort to put an end to Bellatrix's doubts. Snape's creator, JKR, uses her cunning in pretty much the same way and comes up with the most delicious red herrings (yum...smelly... ).

I agree with many of the comparisons to Machiavelli's ideal prince, but I disagree with the interpretation. Snape is a "lion" and a "fox," but that does not mean that he is cruel or that he uses his intelligence to pursue a hidden, evil agenda. The lion in Snape resembles the lion in Harry -- brave, proud, and quite scary when he's been angered. The lion in Snape assures a quiet classroom and gallons of sweat over difficult essays. The lion in Snape demands, and deserves, respect. The fox is that gift of cunning which allows him to say that "the Dark Lord, for instance, almost always knows when someone is lying to him" (italics mine)...

Machiavelli's prince is essentially amoral because -- well, because he's a prince: as you say in your essay, he's got his own power and the stability of the people to take care of. I don't see Snape as either immoral or amoral, but at the same time I can see how Machiavelli's principles apply to him to a certain extent: he does indeed know how "not to be good"... except, he does it out of concern for the Other. The fact that he killed Dumbledore makes him a "Prince" because likely nobody else would have been able to carry out Dumbledore's request (with the exception of Harry, to some degree, for we saw what Harry did in the cave -- he pretty much initiated the dreadful but inevitable "sacrifice of the old," and in my opinion he is no less responsible than Snape is...or maybe even more so).

We could instead have Snape die on the tower with comforting thoughts of his own "goodness" and "innocence" -- and have Dumbledore, and quite possibly many other people, die soon after Severus. That would be Snape "the commoner" or "the everyday man." But Snape didn't do that. He chose the difficult, self-sacrificial path of "the beast" -- when he had to, when he was asked to, when there was no other way -- and that's what makes him "royal" in a way Lord Voldemort will never be.

As for Machiavelli's favorite historical character, Septimius Severus, and the Albinus/Niger story in particular -- I think the parallel is an anti-parallel... At the very least, it's an "anti-parallel" to how the famous 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon viewed Severus. My favorite theory (it was discussed on another thread) is that Rowling is using "Gibbon" imagery to kick that Gibbon out of the way. In OotP -- that is, before the death of Sirius Black, or "Niger" -- Harry turned upside down his portrait which looked like a gibbon. In HBP, right before Dumbledore's death (Albus, or "Albinus"), Gibbon the Death Eater was killed by a stray curse. This is only speculation, but it's neat. Rowling undoubtedly uses historical parallels, but she adds a spin to them -- like she does with a lot of the mythology she borrows... with everything she "borrows," in fact. The Machiavellian parallel works, but as a sort of weird 'reflection' rather than a literal reenactment of history or of Machiavelli's personal philosophy. The power-greedy, dark Severus is just the reflection of Snape in Harry's eyes... but reflections go no deeper than the surface...

Snape's nickname "The Half-Blood Prince" is brilliant and alludes to a number of well-known books and ideas (and fairy tales, too) -- not just The Prince. If Machiavelli is taken too literally, that leaves no room for all those other allusions. It also takes away the beauty of the difference between the "Half-Blood Prince" and "Lord Voldemort." "Prince," inasmuch as it's neither a hereditary title nor a made-up name, has in fact some very positive connotations. For one, a prince succeeds to the throne after the king's death -- I don't think the "king" in our case is the Dark "Lord"; I think it's the one who is a king in spirit and character: Dumbledore.


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  #18  
Old April 10th, 2006, 4:12 am
NeuroComp  Undisclosed.gif NeuroComp is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

excellent editorial the best i've read...curious to know what people think snapes will do if he survives with both Voldemort and AD dead.Will he be evil? Or will he rule in prosperity as was what seemed to be suggested by *** editorial.

The only flaw I think is that we no nothing of AD's past except for very minute details...thus he may have ventured into darkness before discovering the power of love. The only things we know are that he impressed Marchbank at his OWL/NEWT exams and that he discovered the use of dragons blood. He could easily have been reborn from evil like snapes(if snapes is this way).


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Old April 10th, 2006, 5:16 am
MagicLantern  Undisclosed.gif MagicLantern is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

Excellent editorial, BJ Texan. I think using Machiavelli to understand Snape is a great idea. I enjoyed the historical references; the Albinus (Albus), Severus, Niger (Dark Lord) parallel is striking. I also thought the observation about the fox was great. I bet you are right about Snape's patronus. I tend to hope there is a possibility for redemption for Snape though, that he is driven not just by amoral thirst for power, but also some emotional grudges that maybe could be at least partially resolved.


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Old April 10th, 2006, 5:20 am
BJTexan  Male.gif BJTexan is offline
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Re: Machiavelli's Half-Blood Prince

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluna
he does indeed know how "not to be good"... except, he does it out of concern for the Other. The fact that he killed Dumbledore makes him a "Prince" because likely nobody else would have been able to carry out Dumbledore's request (with the exception of Harry, to some degree, for we saw what Harry did in the cave -- he pretty much initiated the dreadful but inevitable "sacrifice of the old," and in my opinion he is no less responsible than Snape is...or maybe even more so).
You're making some pretty wide assumptions in this comment. First, "Dumbledore's request" that you mention never actually happened in the book and takes quite a lot of stretching and assuming to come up with. So, I don't think Snape can be called a "Prince" because he was so noble to carry out Dumbledore's mythical request to have Snape murder him. This becomes especially evident when you remeber that Snape gave himself the nickname of "Half-Blood Prince" out of his own intellectual arrogance and pure-blood mania. Not exactly noble princely motivations.

Additionally, your suggestion that Harry is just as responsible for Dumbledore's death as Snape, who murdered him, reveals the motivation for so many people in the fandom trying to make a guilty Snape innocent. It looks like you are trying to put Harry and Snape on the same moral level in order to create some weird sort of gray mish-mash with no good or evil characters. But the supposition that Harry and Snape are on the same moral ground is ridiculous when put in the context of the story and shows that JKR, while providing flaws for all of her characters, has still shown us that there are good guys who have made good choices and bad guys who have made bad choices in this story.

So, while the parallels I made might not be literal they are certainly not wrong because I overlooked Snape's good intentions because he has none. He has shown and will continue to show that his only motivation is his own advancement in power and influence.


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2. Snape is evil and will follow the model of a Machiavellian Prince to rise to power as the new Dark Lord after Voldemort's defeat and provide the climax of the book in a battle with Harry.
Read the editorial that proves it here: Machiavelli and The Half-Blood Prince
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