Hindu mythology would have a ready answer in karma for what happened to Karna.. it may also have an explanation that he chose to be in the evil company of Duryodhana and his scheming brothers rather than the five Pandavas… however, who would side with the castist Pandavas after what they said to him during the exhibition match between the two set of cousins.. However, the epic is written with a teleological argument where the good triumphs and here the good was always the Pandava brothers from the every beginning. It is a different matter that in the end who was seated in heaven! 🙂 😛
It is not a similar argument with Snape. However, Snape did what he did out of his unending love since childhood for Lily Potter. He did join the Voldermot’s army, the villains in the Potter series for his own reasons. He then came back to seek Dumbledore‘s help and later help the headmaster to bring Voldemort down for years at end. In the process the man secured the hate of every “so harry potter fan” character in the book in spite of his expertise in the dark arts or the different times when he saved Potter and the rest of the school.
Two characters that are layered, like a stack of cheese.. or say like well made parantha or a kerala parota..
The troubles when a character who is inherently good, (please do note that good is always in relative to the bad, there is no stationary trait of good or bad) is shown from the beginning in bad light and hated for their daily ways. In case of Snape he is consistently shown as he is for over 7 books. In the case of Karna, almost the entire epic, except in bits and pieces. However, in the case of Karna, the reader always knew his lineage….. in case of Snape, nobody knew anything, except some of us die hard readers of Potter profess we had an inkling about him 😛 😉 Is that an injustice to a character….
It is but natural that as a reader we are prone to dislike that bad character because for the ardent reader in us, it is the hero of the book who is the loved one with all their flaws. So we have a tendency to love Harry Potter, and not to love/like Snape even when it is revealed in the end of Book 1 that Snape was trying to help Potter rather than sending curses to make him to fall from his broom for the Quidditch. So anybody who does anything against Potter, is our enemy, therefore Snape becomes ours… anybody who is against the 5 brothers and sides with their opposition has our dislike… therefore in spite of knowing about Kunti‘s teenage fancy, we have an empathy towards Karna, but no like 😉
If we need to compare two characters, why not Prof. Snape from Rowling‘s Harry Potter series and Karna from the Mahabharata. Two characters of great merit, in the space of the story they were born into and matured. Nevertheless they are part of the rival team. Or more aptly, they seemed to be part of the rival team by the majority of the characters in the story as well as the audience for most part while the story progresses, until may be it is time for the climax that leads to a hurried resolution. Such that, their so called bad character and their traits are remembered for the most part, rather than the last bits where their true sacrifice and stature is revealed.
However, we talk about them like in a blog post or in an article in hindsight, which is the best appreciation for a role… 🙂 😉
Work in progress..
Piggy backing on an earlier post I wrote on between breaks.. Images courtesy: Google