This is a completely random speech on Snape that I wrote after I was actually meant to give it. The speech I gave was awful but this works as an OK essay.
I would not say that Snape is the bravest fictional character I have ever read about but he is one of the most loyal and, in fact, best fictional character in his own way. What is bravery? According to Remus Lupin, bravery is being afraid of something but still doing it anyway. Has Snape ever really been that afraid of the many things he has faced? No. Snape didn’t fear death as all the other Death Eaters and Voldemort did, that being his most distinguishing characteristic that separated him from the rest of the Death Eaters. I would not say that Snape ever wanted to die and he certainly did not want to at the time of his death but this was not because of the things that he would miss or wanted to do in his life. It was because of the duty that he felt he was leaving undone if he died. Protecting Harry was the entire purpose of his life after Lily Evans married James Potter and died.
Snape tried to protect Harry in every way he possibly could, despite the fact that he actually hated both Harry and the man that Harry resembled the most. In Harry’s first year at Hogwarts Snape was continuously coming to his rescue. He tried to stop Quirrel from jinxing Harry’s broom by casting the counter-curse and threatened Quirrel in the hopes that he would stop his attempts at retrieving the Philosopher’s stone. In Harry’s third year Snape was faced with two of his school time enemies and still tried to help Harry in any way he knew. He provided Lupin with Wolfsbane, despite distrusting him, because he knew that Lupin could reveal to Harry some of his parents’ lives. For reasons both vindictive and caring, Snape tried to protect Harry from Sirius, who he believed was evil. He tries to prevent Harry from entering the very dangerous Triwizard Tournament in HP4 and tries to teach Harry Occulmency to protect him from Voldemort and somehow persuade him not to go to the MoM in HP5.
Throughout all of these books Snape is completely under appreciated and even hated. Despite his many good deeds he is never trusted and is constantly victimised. Through his entire life he was taken for granted and treated badly. As a child it is likely that he was abused by his father and he turned to the Dark Arts to protect himself and get what revenge he could, a perfectly understandable reaction to the childhood he led. When he entered school he was bullied mercilessly by the popular, Gryffindor Marauders. He was bullied for no real reason but simply because he was a Slytherin, studious and had few friends. The only woman he ever loved married the man he hated the most and still he remained loyal. Bitter, he turned to Voldemort in his search for power but even then changed sides so that he could protect Lily. Once Lily had died, he devoted his adult life to protecting and helping Harry, despite the fact that he was never truly thanked.
Dumbledore told Snape that he thought that Snape into the wrong house and that perhaps students were Sorted too early and in some ways I agree. Snape is loyal and hardworking, the characteristics required for Hufflepuffs, intelligent and studious, like a Ravenclaw. However, his Slytherin characteristics are predominating. He is ambitious because he feels that as a Half Blood and Slytherin he needs to prove his worth and very cunning. But just because he is a Slytherin does not necessarily mean that he is evil, perhaps by everyone expecting him to be evil, he became so in many ways.
And then there is the fact that Snape’s intelligence is higher than anyone else’s (except perhaps Dumbledore’s) in the series. He ingeniously creates new spells and potions and is clearly a very able and powerful wizard. He is, after all, better at Occulmency than Voldemort. And interesting question to ask yourself is this: why does Slughorn praise Lily for her innovative potion ideas when Snape is the one who has written additions to the potions in his copy of Advanced Potions? Perhaps Lily’s ideas were really Snape’s.
Snape’s love for Lily endured two wars and about 30 years unrequited. He helped her to understand the wizarding world as a child; was her friend at the beginning of their Hogwarts year and tried to protect her once he realised that Voldemort aimed to kill her. He not only begged his Master, Voldemort, to save her but then went to Dumbledore, risking death and completely degrading himself, to beg him to protect her. And yet she died, and he still loved her. He did everything Dumbledore asked him to after that as long as he believed that he was benefiting Lily somehow. Snape’s Patronus is a doe, the same as Lily's. When he discovered about Snape's Patronus, Dumbledore asked him, "After all this time?" To which Snape responded, with tears in his eyes, "Always." As he died, Snape asked Harry to look at him, so he could look into Lily's eyes one last time.
In conclusion, Snape has done so much and has never been appreciated or thanked. He was good, as some of furiously argued, all along and he was possibly the best character in the entire Harry Potter series.