This is my abstract for the paper I will be presenting at "The Power to Imagine Better: The Philosophy of Harry Potter" at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.
Harry Potter and Humanity: Choices, Love, and Death
In this paper, I analyze how the Harry Potter novels bring to our awareness two fundamental parts of the human condition: the importance of one’s choices and the inevitable of one’s mortality.
Lord Voldemort, in his ruthless search for immortality, never accepts his own humanity; he openly rejects it. I argue it is this choice that makes his irredeemable evil, and his ultimate defeat, possible.
On the other hand, it is Harry’s acceptance of his mortality that allows him to embrace his humanity. It is this recognition that gives Harry the power defeat Voldemort. More than that, it makes it possible for Harry to develop into a realized, virtuous adult. In his acceptance of his mortality, the boy that lived is able more fully and wholly to live.