Whose soul is ripped if a witch or wizard uses the Imperius Curse on someone, and commands them to kill?

I know Dumbledore and Snape discuss murder and the soul, but Snape's soul remains whole due to the agreement they made. If the person being killed is unwilling, does it still do damage to the soul of the Imperiused person?

  • 3
    No, because that's not murder, or at least not murder committed by the person acting under the influence of a curse
    – Valorum
    Nov 29, 2017 at 0:47
  • 2
    @Raditz_35 exactly. Also there is another small matter - whether a psychopath (voldy) is morally responsible for his actions.
    – user68762
    Nov 29, 2017 at 9:22

2 Answers 2


Most likely the wizard who cast Imperio would tear their soul.

The closest situation to this is the Dark Lord using the basilisk to kill Myrtle. It was most likely her death he used to create a Horcrux out of his diary, which would prove it did split his soul. The basilisk is of course not human and therefore may be unable to get a damaged soul, but it would show that using something or someone else to kill would split the soul of the wizard ultimately responsible for the killing.

When being controlled by a Parselmouth, the basilisk simply follows the commands of the person directing it.

“He knew what was happening, he could sense it, could almost see the giant serpent uncoiling itself from Slytherin’s mouth. Then he heard Riddle’s hissing voice: ‘Kill him.’

The basilisk was moving towards Harry, he could hear its heavy body slithering ponderously across the dusty floor. Eyes still tightly shut, Harry began to run blindly sideways, his hands outstretched, feeling his way. Riddle was laughing …”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)

Similarly, someone under the Imperius Curse is simply carrying out the will of the person who cast it, with no control over their actions. It’s, in that way, analogous to how the Dark Lord used the basilisk to kill Myrtle.

Therefore, from the situations we’ve seen, it’s likely that the wizard who used the Imperius Curse to turn someone else into their tool would spilt their soul (and likely be able to make a Horcrux from the kill as well), while the Imperiused wizard’s soul would remain intact.


Building off of this answer here, the splitting of the soul is caused by murder, not killing. There's a distinct difference between the two, which is malicious intent (the distinction by which Snape, as you mentioned, was safe).

There is no malicious intent by those who are Imperiused. They become tools without a will of their own. In the same way that guns don't murder people, but rather those who control them, I think it's safe to say that any soul splitting would fall on the one who willed it to happen.

  • Just some extra scenarios that push the boundary if "willing" is all thats needed. What about a true believer of X religion praying for their death and then the person dies, how about hiring a hitman? or what if someone that attempts a murder, believes they succeeded yet unbeknownst to them the victim is still alive.
    – Jesse
    Nov 29, 2017 at 2:39
  • @Jesse Barnett If I remember correctly how it was worded in the book, then it's the evil act that splits the soul and killing is just the most known example of that. So maybe those who tortured the Longbottoms might also have their soul split? But I don't know enough about Horcrux tech to say for sure if that alone would maybe a physical difference. Nov 29, 2017 at 7:19
  • @Fabian The question then becomes "How evil is evil enough?" and "Who decides what is more or less evil?" ie. If a person with mental health issues brutally murdered someone or something where objectively the act was very evil, but because of issues did not themselves think of it as evil, would they have their soul ripped apart?
    – Jesse
    Nov 29, 2017 at 9:03
  • 1
    Slughorn says that killing rips the soul, not murder specifically. There is a distinction in terms of Horcrux-creation but not in terms of soul-splitting. Snape knew this, which is why he complained about his soul when Dumbledore told Snape to kill him. He knew that he wasn't "safe" on grounds of intent. Nov 29, 2017 at 10:21

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