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DameDesDenkariums ...
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...   Erstellt am 18.01.2006 - 22:30Zum Seitenanfang Beitrag zitieren Beitrag melden Beitrag verändern Beitrag löschen

Hallo ihr Lieben,

hier gibt es Machiavellis Prinz (gemeint ist Severus Septimius) als mögliche Vorlage für unseren Snape. Beide Texte sind leider nur auf Englisch, aber absolut lesenswert.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Machiavelli's Prince Severus

A few years ago I used an excerpt from Machiavelli's the Prince as evidence that Snape may kill Dumbledore. At the time, I didn't think too much of the parallel, only that it was an interesting coincidence that should be taken into account. Given Snape's actions in Book Six, I feel it is important to go back to this example and see what it may tell us about Severus Snape.

The Severus to whom Machiavelli refers is Severus Septimius. (The last name sounds suspiciously like the spell that Snape created, doesn't it?) While Snape is by no means the Septimius in Machiavelli's work, the similarities are striking. Machiavelli portrays a man who aspired to be a great emperor. He knew that only two men were a danger to his power. One man had already declared himself a ruler, the other was named Albinus.

Yes, Albus and Albinus both mean the same thing!

Machiavelli writes:

"Judging it was dangerous to show himself hostile to both of them, Serverus decided to attack Niger and to trick Albinus." The Prince, pg. 64, Penguin Classic, 1999

I don't think I have to work too hard to show the similarities here. Severus aligned himself with Albinus as a means to hide his true goal and work behind the scenes to rid himself of both leaders. The story goes on and Severus eventually has Albinus killed. Severus becomes a powerful emperor.

The story does have its differences, especially if one were to look up the novel and read it for themselves , but I think that Rowling may have recieved some of her inspiration for Snape's character from Machiavilli's work. Besides the interactions between Severus and Albinus, there remains much more evidence as to the connection between Septimius and Snape.

For example, Snape fashions himself the name the "Half Blood Prince". Yes, Prince comes from his mothers maiden name, but it may go deeper than that. Machiavelli does hold Severus up as a great prince. Is Rowling whispering in our ears the origins of Snape's character? Maybe she is warning us about politics? I don't know, but I wouldn't doubt it.

Most important of all, is why Machiavelli shares the story of Severus in the first place. Machiavelli's goal is to show the qualities that a prince must have. He raises Severus as an example of how a prince must be in order to attain and keep power. Namely, a prince has to know how to act.

"...I want to show briefly how well he (Severus) knew how to act the part of both a fox and a lion,..." The Prince, pg. 63

Was this not a large theme in book six? Did not Snape continually say that he would not get very far if he didn't know how to properly act?

"So whoever carefully studies what this man (Severus) did will find that he had the qualities of a ferocious lion and a very cunning fox, and that he was feared and respected by everyone..."The Prince, pg. 64

There is no doubt in my mind that Snape is cunning and ferocious. How well he does act his parts.

Now that we have seen that the name "Prince" may actually be a reference to Machiavelli's work, it remains to show why we care. What does this say about Snape?

If Septimius inspired Snape's character then this goes along with the theory that Snape has been playing the middle, maybe waiting to see which side would win out. Does Snape aspire to greater things? Is he awaiting Voldemort's demise only to replace him? Does Snape serve no one but himself?

Machiavelli's Septimius was not only a good actor, but he knew when to let others fight the battle for him.

I still say there are many unanswered questions as far as Snape goes. Either he acted on Dumbledore's orders when he killed the headmaster, or he did not. Either he serves Voldemort or he does not. He may prove the greatest ally to Harry in book seven (a theme I much prefer and believe makes for a much more powerful book) or he may prove Harry's greatest enemy. Only Book Seven will tell. Until then, we would do well to keep Machiavelli's work in mind when we ask how well does Snape act and to whom is he loyal? A cunning fox indeed....

posted by Tazmy


Niccolò Machiavelli Predicts It:
Severus Snape Will Survive!
I was reading the icon Slytherin text this summer, Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince, and I found it on page 52: The best sentence in the whole book for a Snape fan:

And all of them, except Severus, came to a bad end.

Cheers! Cheers. Cheers?

Now, doubtless, you are now coming out of your relief and plunging into dismay, "What do you mean, all of them?" You're wondering if everyone else dies. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lupin, Hagrid...?

I answer: No...but probably the other Death Eaters will come to a bad end.

Say hello to Chapter XIX in The Prince. It's titled, "THAT A PRINCE SHOULD SEEK TO ESCAPE CONTEMPT AND HATRED." In this chapter, Machiavelli outlines the virtues and flaws of the most notable Roman Emperors. He explains why "all of them, except Severus, came to a bad end."

What can Machiavelli teach us?

It's unlikely that Snape will try to get Death Eaters to rebel against Voldemort.
Machiavelli says:

He who conspires cannot do so alone, nor can he assume as his companions any save those whom he believes to be discontent; but so soon as you impart your design to a discontent man, you supply him with the means of removing his discontent, since by betraying you he can procure for himself every advantage; so that seeing on the one hand certain gain, and on the other a doubtful and dangerous risk, he must either be a rare friend to you, or the mortal enemy of his Prince [i.e. Voldemort], if he keep your secret. (p. 48)

Voldemort won't trust his Death Eaters.
Machiavelli says:

A Prince has little to fear from conspiracies when his subjects are well disposed toward him; but when they are hostile and hold him in detestation, he has then reason to fear everything and every one. (p. 49)

We have already seen some of this distrust in Goblet of Fire. Consider the scene with Pettigrew in the beginning and the scene of the Death Eater reunion at the end.

Snape is biased in class to keep the loyalty of the Slytherins.
Yes, it's obvious, but just for fun, see what Machiavelli says:

Hatred is incurred as well on account of good actions as of bad; for which reason,..., a Prince who would maintain his authority is often compelled to be other than good. For when the class,..., whom you judge it necessary to rely on for support, is corrupt, you must adapt yourself to its humours, and satisfy these, in which case virtuous conduct will only prejudice you. (p. 51)

Cruel, but successful, but Severus Snape?
Machiavelli begins explaining why Snape acts cruelly in the classroom and it works, but the end falters a little. Severus Snape isn't quite as powerful with the school as Emperor Severus was with his empire. Should we worry, then?

When we turn to consider the characters of Commodus, Severus, and Caracalla, we find them all to have been most cruel and rapacious Princes [note: This line is why I think the other Death Eaters will some to a bad end], who to satisfy the soldiery, scrupled not to inflict every kind of wrong upon the people. And all of them, except Severus, came to a bad end. But in Severus there was such strength of character, that, keeping the soldiers [i.e. the Slytherins] his friends, he was able, although he oppressed the people [i.e. Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs], to reign on prosperously to the last; because his great qualities made him so admirable in the eyes both of the people and the soldiers, that the former remained in a manner amazed and awestruck, while the latter were respectful and contented. (p. 51-52)

Does Snape keep the school "amazed and awestruck"? He's a powerful wizard and a formidable teacher who scares most of his students. He's a Potions Master who knows what he is doing; although the oppressed 3/4 of the school don't feel any fondness for him, they have to admit that he's talented (even Harry didn't seriously think Umbridge would find him unqualified). The school is unlikely to openly rebel against him. They fear him.

Fear is better than love, but love is better than hate. Snape should be careful.
Machiavelli says:

It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. (p. 43, chapter XVII)
Nevertheless a Prince should inspire fear in such a fashion that if he do not win love he may escape hate. For a man may very well be feared and yet not hated, and this will be the case so long as he does not meddle with the property or with the women of his citizens and subjects. (p. 44)

Machiavelli goes on for a while about how smart Princes should not meddle with their people's property. This doesn't transfer well to the school-as-a-kingdom metaphor, so it leaves ambiguity. Do points count as property? They are collective property, not personal property, so they don't work well.

What personal property can Snape take or interfere with? I can think of a few things: dignity (Neville), privacy (Harry's mind), free time (detentions), and social status (Harry, Hermione, Neville). Still, as only a teacher, Snape's power over the school is limited.

Severus was successful because he knew how to play the dual roles of the lion and the fox.
Going back one chapter, Machiavelli explains the dual roles:

But since a Prince should know how to use the beast’s nature wisely, he ought of beasts to choose both the lion and the fox; for the lion cannot guard himself from the toils, nor the fox from wolves. He must therefore be a fox to discern toils, and a lion to drive off wolves.

To rely wholly on the lion is unwise; and for this reason a prudent Prince neither can nor ought to keep his word when to keep it is hurtful to him and the causes which led him to pledge it are removed. If all men were good, this would not be good advice, but since they are dishonest and do not keep faith with you, you in return, need not keep faith with them; and no prince was ever at a loss for plausible reasons to cloak a breach of faith. Of this numberless recent instances could be given, and it might be shown how many solemn treaties and engagements have been rendered inoperative and idle through want of faith in Princes, and that he who was best known to play the fox has had the best success.

[needs more...]

Snape is loyal to Dumbledore, but he is not to Voldemort.


[Dieser Beitrag wurde am 18.01.2006 - 22:33 von DameDesDenkariums aktualisiert]


Snape! You shouldn´t think he is too nice.

DameDesDenkariums ...
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...   Erstellt am 18.01.2006 - 22:50Zum Seitenanfang Beitrag zitieren Beitrag melden Beitrag verändern Beitrag löschen

Hier könnt ihr den Fürsten ( deutscher Titel)

online lesen.



Snape! You shouldn´t think he is too nice.

Cassandra ...

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...   Erstellt am 25.01.2006 - 18:36Zum Seitenanfang Beitrag zitieren Beitrag melden Beitrag verändern Beitrag löschen

Sehr aufschlussreiche Parallelen

Danke für die Hinweise!


'Yes,' said Harry stiffly. 'Yes, sir.' 'There's no need to call me "sir", Professor.'

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