Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Severus Snape and Other Reasons Not to Judge

I appreciated very much the final twist in Harry Potter regarding Snape.  Literature is full of exquisite examples of characters who seem evil and thoroughly wicked but end up the great heroes of the narrative.  Stories are often a powerful way of teaching and I think one of the great lessons we need in this world is that of judging with love and giving others the benefit of the doubt.  Sometimes we feel so justified in criticizing others or allowing ourselves to become disgusted with them.  After all, Harry actually saw Snape murder Dumbledore in cold blood.  Reason enough to peg him as a fully worshipping Death Eater. 

One of my favorite other examples of this kind of twist lies in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.  Through a long, thoroughly gripping and delightfully entertaining series of events we discover that up is really down, left is right and no one has any reason to fret over the things for which they were ready to murder their best friends or die trying.  Another is Verdis's opera La Traviata which has become rather a favorite.  A woman who on the surface seems nothing but a flirtatious, indecent, self centered, fickle woman turns out to be the heroine who sacrifices her ruined life to secretly bring others a window of happiness.  And let's not forget Pride and Prejudice where proud, immovable Mr. Darcy risks everything to rescue a devastated family from shame and raise them to heights before unimaginable. 

My apologies to the general public - I speak more or less fluent nerd.  It creeps into my language sometimes.  But you understand my drift.  Whatever a person may do to us, let us first and foremost remember that we do not want our actions toward that person to be justified.  We want them to be right.  Justice will eventually find glory in its visitation on every human soul.  Let us guard our own actions toward those we perceive to be evil and recall that whatever their actions toward us, we need to remain constantly kind and decent with regard to them.  And who knows?  It may end up that our forgiving words and actions may give emotional refuge to another grim looking Severus Snape!

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