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Greatness Inspires Envy, Envy Engenders Spite, Spite Spawns Lies

Greatness Inspires Envy, Envy Engenders Spite, Spite Spawns Lies

“Greatness inspires envy, envy engenders spite, spite spawns lies.”

Lord Voldemort in defense of the "rumors" circulating about him, during his meeting with Dumbledore about teaching at Hogwarts (HBP20: Lord Voldemort’s Request)


In this memory of Dumbledore's "interview" of Tom Riddle, there are a lot of interesting undercurrents.  Dumbledore seems sure that Tom does not truly want the job of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, yet he still purportedly curses the position, so that from that point onward, no teacher lasts more than a year in the position.  He just wants access to Hogwarts, and especially to items associated with the four founders--Harry eventually determines that Voldemort hid the diadem Horcrux in the Room of Requirement on the day of his interview, and that he probably hoped he would be able to steal the Sword of Gryffindor as well.

In this particular scene, Tom has already fragmented his soul, and it is fairly obvious to Dumbledore that the "rumors" he has heard are true.  Voldemort even seems to have trouble denying it--he seems proud of his accomplishments.  His excuse to Dumbledore is that he is great, and others are envious and thus spiteful.  He does not really deny Dumbledore's insinuations, vague as they are--he just implies that anything Dumbledore heard that he hasn't approved of has been the product of these envious, spiteful people.  It's cunning, but Dumbledore sees right through him (or most of the way through him).


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Tags: achievements ambition boundaries cunning envy excuses greatness ignorance interpretation interviews jealousy lies magical ability persuasion rumors slander spite teaching