Hamlet¡¦s b*****d, #@&*!$. Let¡¦s take a look at

Hamlet¡¦s ¡§to be or not to be¡¨ may have been discussed for years, but right now it is ¡§is he or is he not.¡¨ The most ambiguous character in HP, I think, and his greatest ambiguity is which side are his loyalties really on. Yes, I am referring to the Potions Master, the dreaded darkness of the dungeons, Severus Snape. Probably the most mysterious of the main characters, Snape has been a subject of heated debates ever since DD told Harry in PS/SS that Snape wanted to save Harry so that he could go back to hating James¡¦ memory. Intrigued? You bet we were. Every time we think we are beginning to understand him, we learn something that throws it in our face.

Every answer we get about him sparks a score of new questions. And there is, of course, the million dollar question ¡V ¡§Which side is he really on?¡¨Post HBP, some fans could barely control their fury, hatred and loathing towards him. Others believe that he really had no choice, that he did what he had to do, or that he did it on DD¡¦s orders.

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There is of course also the group of fence-sitters, but as they do not sway the balance either way, I¡¦m ignoring them. The majority, however, are decided. To most, Snape¡¦s murder of DD has sealed him off as a bad guy, and there are mutterings of ¡§I could have told you that¡¨ from many corners. Many have switched sides from the I-don¡¦t-think-Snape-is-evil camp to Snape-is-a-slimeball, b*****d, #@&*!$. Let¡¦s take a look at what exactly Snape does that night¡KOur first look at Snape that night is up the Astronomy Tower, with a weakened DD, an invisible immobilized Harry, Draco and 4 DEs. Just before Snape kills DD, when DD is pleading with him (for life or death?),¡¥Snape gazed for a moment at Dumbledore, and there was revulsion and hatred etched in the harsh lines of his face¡¦This revulsion and hatred have caused quite a lot of confusion among fans. The Snape-is-evil group takes it at face value, that Snape is revolted by and hates the sight of DD, and is finally able to show it.

The counterargument is that Snape was revolted, not by DD, but by what he had to do. Snape, at first sight can make out the following things:-„« DD does not have his wand„« Draco has lost his nerve„« The other DEs are willing to kill DDHe may or may not have seen Harry¡¦s broom.Now what is Snape to do? He knows that due to whatever barrier has been created on the stairs, no one can come up, and so he can¡¦t stall for reinforcements.

He¡¦s on his own. He can either kill DD. But Snape doesn¡¦t want to do that. OK then, Snape has the chance to do just one spell before the others are onto him. Draco is no threat to anyone, Snape can kill or disable one DE, but that leaves 3 more DEs. Any of them could disable (or kill) Snape, and then kill DD.

So whatever he does, DD is not going to make it. DD has to die. If Snape does not kill DD, he will die because of the Unbreakable Vow. So the logical choice, the practical choice, the only choice for Slytherin Snape is to kill DD so that only one life is lost, not two. And this is exactly what he does. However, he is appalled at what he has to do, and this shows in his face. There is also the possibility that DD foresaw such a scenario, and instructed Snape to kill him in this situation. In this case, DD¡¦s plea becomes a plea for death, a plea that Snape do as was agreed upon, and Snape¡¦s revulsion is of what he has to do.

OK, now that he has shown himself as a DE, it makes sense to keep that up (at least to the other DEs). So he tells everyone to get out of there (obviously, job¡¦s done, get out), actually grabs Draco by his neck and shoves him down the stairs. All through this flight, Snape merely tells the others to leave, but grabs Draco and makes sure that Draco gets away.

Why? Because he¡¦s still bound by the Unbreakable Vow, in which one of the terms was that he will, to the best of his ability, protect Draco from harm. Snape and Malfoy leaving first and leaving together gave them 3 advantages. One, the last one on the tower top got cursed by Harry. So if Snape had known of Harry¡¦s presence on the tower, he would have understood that Harry must have been immobilized by DD, and when DD dies, Harry will be able to move and fight. So he gets Draco out first.

Two, the members of the Order and the students below assume that they are running away from the DEs, and do nothing to stop them. And three, the other DEs get held up fighting, while Snape and Draco manage to get clean away. Even when he turns to fight with Harry, Snape makes sure Draco gets away first.Now comes the really interesting part. Harry tries.

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