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Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis



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  #181  
Old February 27th, 2010, 4:30 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by wolfbrother View Post
Well, I based this on the reactions of the villagers upon their death. They weren't too bothered and apparently didn't want to waste their breath pretending to be sad.
Do you think that his personality at least fifteen years later could have been shaped by the traumatic experience Merope put him through? I would imagine being kidnapped and forced to bend to another's will and forced to feel as though you liked it would do a lot in terms of changing a person.

As for Merope not knowing it was wrong...I suppose I'll just be on my own little island over here then () because I'm of the opinion that she knew it wasn't right (that's not necessarily the same as knowing it was wrong) and yet went ahead with it anyway. I also believe that by the time she released Riddle, she unequivocally knew what she had done was, indeed, wrong. I view her release of him, however it came about, as some sort of belated attempt to rectify her mistakes that backfired quite spectacularly.


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  #182  
Old February 27th, 2010, 5:46 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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I also believe that by the time she released Riddle, she unequivocally knew what she had done was, indeed, wrong. I view her release of him, however it came about, as some sort of belated attempt to rectify her mistakes that backfired quite spectacularly.
I always thought she stopped feeding him the love potion because she had begun to live the lie. I think she really believed that he loved her and that, if she stopped giving him the potion, he would still love her.


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  #183  
Old February 27th, 2010, 5:47 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by mexicant View Post
As for Merope not knowing it was wrong...I suppose I'll just be on my own little island over here then () because I'm of the opinion that she knew it wasn't right (that's not necessarily the same as knowing it was wrong) and yet went ahead with it anyway. I also believe that by the time she released Riddle, she unequivocally knew what she had done was, indeed, wrong. I view her release of him, however it came about, as some sort of belated attempt to rectify her mistakes that backfired quite spectacularly.
Dumbledore has a different explanation for her decision though. He says that she probably came to be convinced he had started to love her for who she was, and not because of the potion, and that's why she stopped drugging him. If this was indeed the case, then I think it supports the view that she did not realise what she was doing was wrong, because she believed it had led to actual love, rather than horror and scorn, which she would have been fearing had she known exactly what her actions meant and entailed.


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  #184  
Old February 27th, 2010, 6:54 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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How is the honorable choice for a man who was forced into marrying and impregnating a woman he didn't know staying with her once he is no longer being held prisoner? I'm just trying to understand the line of thinking. I can't understand finding any blame for someone put in his situation. Inspiring and inviting her love are two different things, and before she somehow slipped him a potion that took his reason from him and forced him to bend to her will, we are shown that he hardly knows she exists.
I'm not condoning her actions, or suggesting that she took the right course that day. However, Tom left to starve in the ditches, making no provision for the child he had, wittingly or not, fathered. We are shown that he was well-off in the world; surely he could have ensured that she didn't starve, at least? Hopefully he would have done the same for any pregnant woman who came to his attention; Merope was pregnant with his child, and it seems rather callous of him to completely and utterly abandon her after learning what had happened.

But, as I said in my last post, I don't entirely blame him either. The honorable course of action would, in my opinion, have been to ensure that she had food and shelter at least until she gave birth; but how many people would have done that? It would have been an extremely traumatic experience for him; doubly so considering he was a Muggle with no former knowledge of magic. His instinct would have been to put as much distance between himself and her as possible; she would have inspired revulsion and horror in him, and he would never have wanted to see her again- and I doubt he would have been able to find her again, even had he wished to.

So don't think I see Merope and Tom's unhappy relationship as being black-and-white, with one person as a saint and the other a villain. I don't. They both could have comported themselves more wisely; she, before giving him the potion and he after coming out from under the influence of it and learning what had befallen. However, as others have pointed out above, I don't think we can hold Merope to the same standards as we would other characters. She had close to no moral training, and what she did have was skewed and perverted. She probably wasn't discerning enough to view the use of magic in order to gain what she wanted as wrong. She wanted something desperately and was free for the first time in her life, and she knew how to gain what she wanted. She was weak, and she took advantage of that. I really can't blame her too much. But as I said, I can't blame Tom Sr. for his actions either; they were understandable, if not entirely acceptable. I see the whole occurrence as extremely tragic, with both parties eventually suffering for what they did.

And then, of course, Voldemort was the result of it all... There's a moral judgment for you!


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  #185  
Old February 27th, 2010, 8:13 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by mexicant View Post
Do you think that his personality at least fifteen years later could have been shaped by the traumatic experience Merope put him through? I would imagine being kidnapped and forced to bend to another's will and forced to feel as though you liked it would do a lot in terms of changing a person.
I would assume that such an experience would make someone highly paranoid and possibly spend more time as a recluse. He would have been classed as weird not unpopular. His parents did not get much sympathy either so I don't think it was caused by that particular experience.
I see Tom Riddle Sr as a muggle version of Draco Malfoy. I guess I exaggerated when I said that he was one of the worst. He certainly wasn't a pleasant person though.



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  #186  
Old February 28th, 2010, 12:30 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

1. Merope was called a squib by her father Marvolo. Do you think that she might have been a real squib or did her father just called her this name as a form of mental abuse?

She could make a potion, and she did have a wand, so I don't think she was a squib. I guess her father just called her that, like, to abuse her. I do wonder why he hated her so much. Just because she was a girl? But he already had a son.

2. Falling in love with Tom Riddle Sr proved to be a decisive event in Merope’s life. Via a love potion she manages to "trick" Riddle Sr into marrying her. Later when she is pregnant, she stops feeding him love potion. What could be the reason for stopping with the potion?

I think she wanted him to love her for her. Maybe she thought that the potion did create love? And as he'd taken it for such a long time, he'd have learned to love her. Or maybe she thought now that she was pregnant, he would have no other choice but to stay, as they were going to have a baby.

3. Riddle Sr abandons Merope and she moves to London. Being poor forces her to sell Slytherin's Locket for 10 galleons. She needs the money, but why doesn’t she use magic to provide for food?

I think she was just so depressed. Or like Dumbledore said, she didn't want to be a witch anymore. Maybe she wanted to be Muggle. Like, Riddle left her because he didn't like magic, Voldemort said.

4. After arriving on the doorstep of the Muggle orphanage Merope dies shortly after giving birth to Tom Riddle Jr. Why does she make the choice to die instead of using her magical abilities to save herself and be a mother to her baby?

I don't really think anyone really makes a choice to die. Not really. Unless it's suicide. Losing the will to live is one thing, I think. Actually choosing to die, is like suicide. She just stopped caring. After all, the dead find peace. Something which is rather foreign to the living. Maybe she couldn't bear to see her baby, and be reminded that Riddle left her and all that.

5. Merope herself was raised in a family that hated 'Mud bloods' and believed in the supremacy of 'Pure bloods'. If she had survived giving birth to her son, would she have raised him in a different way then she has been raised herself?

That would have been extremely hypocritical of her. She married a Muggle, and her own son wasn't pure blood, anyway. He was a half blood.

6. Could Merope have prevented Voldemort from becoming the most feared wizard alive, if she had lived and loved him?

Possibly. I've always thought Voldemort hated and feared death a lot because it took his mother.

7. To conclude, what is your opinion on Merope's character?

I feel very bad for her. She led a very miserable life. Though maybe it was better that she didn't see what her son became.


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  #187  
Old February 28th, 2010, 12:38 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by persian85033 View Post
I guess her father just called her that, like, to abuse her. I do wonder why he hated her so much. Just because she was a girl? But he already had a son.
I wondered that too. But I guess it makes sense that a man already violently prejudiced, in so many other ways, and against so many other things, would also be sexist.


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  #188  
Old February 28th, 2010, 7:48 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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I always thought she stopped feeding him the love potion because she had begun to live the lie. I think she really believed that he loved her and that, if she stopped giving him the potion, he would still love her.
That is always how I interpreted it too. Merope had gotten so wrapped up in her own lie she began to believe it, and though Riddle would love her without the potion.


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  #189  
Old February 28th, 2010, 8:28 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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1. Merope was called a squib by her father Marvolo. Do you think that she might have been a real squib or did her father just called her this name as a form of mental abuse?
Probably mental abuse. Seems likely that rather than being unable to perform magic, Merope was afraid to, because nothing she did would have satisfied her unbalanced father.

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2. Falling in love with Tom Riddle Sr proved to be a decisive event in Merope’s life. Via a love potion she manages to "trick" Riddle Sr into marrying her. Later when she is pregnant, she stops feeding him love potion. What could be the reason for stopping with the potion?
We don't know for certain that it was a potion. If we presume it was, then the explanation provided in the book seems likely, that she either got tired of living a lie, or honestly thought by that point he was in love with her anyway.

Quote:
3. Riddle Sr abandons Merope and she moves to London. Being poor forces her to sell Slytherin's Locket for 10 galleons. She needs the money, but why doesn’t she use magic to provide for food?
If she was a squib, that would explain why. If she wasn't, then it's possible that she choose not to perform magic, because being a witch may have been the reason Tom Riddle abandoned her, so she didn't want to remind herself of that.

Quote:
4. After arriving on the doorstep of the Muggle orphanage Merope dies shortly after giving birth to Tom Riddle Jr. Why does she make the choice to die instead of using her magical abilities to save herself and be a mother to her baby?
See my above answer.

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5. Merope herself was raised in a family that hated 'Mud bloods' and believed in the supremacy of 'Pure bloods'. If she had survived giving birth to her son, would she have raised him in a different way then she has been raised herself?
The fact she was in love with a Muggle suggests she personally didn't place much belief on the concept of blood supremacy. Given her nature, which appeared to be benevolent, there's no reason to doubt that she wouldn't have been a good natured mother.

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6. Could Merope have prevented Voldemort from becoming the most feared wizard alive, if she had lived and loved him?
I would say so yes.

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7. To conclude, what is your opinion on Merope's character?
From what we do know, she appears to be quite endearing and sympathetic.

Definitely one of the most interesting characters in the series for sure.


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  #190  
Old February 28th, 2010, 10:46 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Well, I based this on the reactions of the villagers upon their death. They weren't too bothered and apparently didn't want to waste their breath pretending to be sad.
Why should they be sad to lose a bunch of freaks who nail snakes to their doors and are generally considered to be weird and who you leave alone. The Gaunts never attemtped to be involved with Muggles, so the people not caring about them is only natural.

[quote=mexicant;5502338]Do you think that his personality at least fifteen years later could have been shaped by the traumatic experience Merope put him through? I would imagine being kidnapped and forced to bend to another's will and forced to feel as though you liked it would do a lot in terms of changing a person.[/question]
I wonder how much he really remembers from being put under the potion and if it was joyfull for him during that time.


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I wondered that too. But I guess it makes sense that a man already violently prejudiced, in so many other ways, and against so many other things, would also be sexist.
I always thought it's because she showed a lack of magic ability. As descedants of Slytherin and what he possibly thought the greatest wizard family, they produce such a worthless creature like Merope, who can't get her magic right.


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  #191  
Old February 28th, 2010, 11:54 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Why should they be sad to lose a bunch of freaks who nail snakes to their doors and are generally considered to be weird and who you leave alone. The Gaunts never attemtped to be involved with Muggles, so the people not caring about them is only natural.
I was talking about their reaction when the Riddle family was killed.


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  #192  
Old February 28th, 2010, 10:10 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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I always thought it's because she showed a lack of magic ability. As descedants of Slytherin and what he possibly thought the greatest wizard family, they produce such a worthless creature like Merope, who can't get her magic right.
I've always thought of it as having been the other way around; Merope lacked significant magical ability because her father abused her, he didn't abuse her because she lacked the abilities he saw as all-important. In Ogden's memory she seemed to me as if she were more confused, intimidated and disoriented than actually possessing substandard magical skills; she, as has already been discussed in this thread, definitely displayed a brief upswing in initiative and in her magical abilities after the removal of her abusive family to Azkaban, so I assumed that it was wholly their influence keeping her down.

That's interesting, though. Did Marvolo abuse Merope because he saw her as a substandard witch, or was she that way because he abused her? If the latter is true, what motivated him to abuse her in the first place?


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  #193  
Old February 28th, 2010, 10:31 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

I've never thought of her as lacking in magical ability; from what we see, she reminds me of Neville around Professor Snape - easily flustered, and as such a miserable example. Neville, away from Professor Snape, is passable at potions. I've always seen Merope's reactions around her father to be a parallel of that.


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  #194  
Old February 28th, 2010, 10:44 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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I've never thought of her as lacking in magical ability; from what we see, she reminds me of Neville around Professor Snape - easily flustered, and as such a miserable example.
I agree and I'd say that this goes even further. Emotions and magic are closely interlinked in the Potterverse. Magical children show the first signs of magic in times of emotional exhilaration or distress, e.g. Lily flew when she was happy, Harry flew when he was scared. Neville was thrown out of a window by his uncle for this very reason. But Merope is in such distress and fear that she is seems paralysed. I think this includes her magic.


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  #195  
Old March 1st, 2010, 12:19 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

I know what you're all talking about and I agree, I just pondered why he started to treat her bad. The only thing I can think of is he thinks she's a shame for their family. And as they value their purebloddness and being related to Slytherin that much and they probably thought they are great wizards, her not being a good witch is what I think one of the reasons why he treatened her that bad. I could be wrong though.

I agree that the further abuse hindered her even more, but like LoonyforMoony asked "what motivated him to abuse her in the first place?" and my guess is the one above.


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  #196  
Old March 1st, 2010, 10:08 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

I think Marvolo abused Merope because that's the kind of man he was--abusive. It wouldn't surprise me if Marvolo had contempt for women in general and Merope in particular. That her personality led her to be more awkward, timid and incompetent under his abuse only increased his ill treatment of her. Perhaps if she had been more combative, like Morphin, she would have been treated better by her father. But I don't think she had it in her, Merope just wasn't a fighter.

I wish we knew something about her mother--what she was like and when she died. If she died giving birth to Merope, maybe that was something else Marvolo held against her.

Merope's infatuation with Tom Riddle Sr must have been strong indeed for her to have acted on it. It's hard to picture such a defeated character having the gumption to even come up with a plan for snaring her man, let alone carrying it out.


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  #197  
Old March 2nd, 2010, 2:26 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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I also believe that by the time she released Riddle, she unequivocally knew what she had done was, indeed, wrong. I view her release of him, however it came about, as some sort of belated attempt to rectify her mistakes that backfired quite spectacularly.
This is how I see it too, only with the chronology suggested by Dumbledore. She stopped giving him the potion because she thought he was really in love by then, and when instead he recoiled in horror, she realized what she had done to him and therefore did not take steps to bring him back under control (of which I do not doubt she was magically capable).


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  #198  
Old March 2nd, 2010, 6:49 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by mexicant View Post
I've never thought of her as lacking in magical ability; from what we see, she reminds me of Neville around Professor Snape - easily flustered, and as such a miserable example. Neville, away from Professor Snape, is passable at potions. I've always seen Merope's reactions around her father to be a parallel of that.
I never thought of that. Perhaps if Merope had gained some self confidence, or had someone like Harry, like to teach her, she may have been a great witch.

After all, the DA did Neville a lot of good, maybe something similar would have helped Merope as well.


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  #199  
Old March 2nd, 2010, 6:57 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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This is how I see it too, only with the chronology suggested by Dumbledore. She stopped giving him the potion because she thought he was really in love by then, and when instead he recoiled in horror, she realized what she had done to him and therefore did not take steps to bring him back under control (of which I do not doubt she was magically capable).
I can see this as being plausible. Perhaps not what I would think have happened, but it's something I can believe. Having never really known love, I imagine it would have been difficult for her to know the difference between the obsessive effects of the potion and the real thing.

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Originally Posted by persian85033 View Post
I never thought of that. Perhaps if Merope had gained some self confidence, or had someone like Harry, like to teach her, she may have been a great witch.

After all, the DA did Neville a lot of good, maybe something similar would have helped Merope as well.
I like to think that she flourished during her short time with Tom Riddle, and that it all just withered when he left. I think it's safe to assume she brewed whatever potion she used when her family was not around, or was able to practice the spell if that is what she used, and that in and of itself shows me that she was more than her father thought she was. She did have at least some ability, but it was stifled in the oppressive presence of her brother and father.


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Old April 6th, 2010, 9:08 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

as far as why merope stopped giving tom riddle the potion, and why she didnt use magic to get food and stuff, we get those answers from dumbledore IMHO.

i think she wasnt a squib. her father seemed the type of man who made his daughter work while his son had to do nothing. in keeping her downtrodden, and overworked most of her life, he prevented her from overpowering and/or leaving him at some point.

i do think that if she had chosen to live and be a mother to him instead of dieing, she would have raised him diffrently than she was raised and she would have prevented Voldemort from becomeing what he did. his contempt of muggles cam mostly, i think, from the the fact that his own muggle father abandoned him. based on that, i believe he decided that muggles, and muggle borns, are not to be trusted, cowardly, worthless, and every other bad thing in the world.

i think she decided to give up because she felt her child would be better off without her. her father had beaten her down most of her life, and her husband had just left her because he was angered by her trickery(for lack of a better term) of him. he was also, i think, afraid of witchcraft. knowing that every other man in her life abandoned her, or treated her like scum because she was "no good" she figured this boy would be better off raised by someone else. why she gave him to a muggle orphanage though is my question. even if she wasnt useing magic anymore herself, you would think that she would want her son raised in a magical environment. do they even have WW orphanages?

merope gaunt wasnt a bad person but she wasnt the best person either. she didnt seem to think her child was important enough to live for and she thought nothing of stealing another womans boyfriend. i wont say any of what happened to her was deserved but she could have thought of the consequences of her actions before she did the things she did.


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