A/N: This is the first time I'm uploading something. It's not story, it's an analysis of Tom Riddle's character.
I was talking to one of my friends the other day, and it seems to me that majority of the people don't understand the difference between Tom Riddle and Lord Voldemort. This was written to convince her. Let's see if it works. :)
Reviews and criticism are appreciated, but please don't be to harsh.

Disclaimer: this is all belongs to our Queen, J.K. Rowling.

Tom Marvolo Riddle is one of the most misunderstood characters that have ever existed. He has been labeled as cruel, evil and inhumane, by those who do not even bother to delve within his past and understand as to what events caused him to become what he became.

Tom was abandoned as a child. His mother chose death over him. His father chose reputation and society over his own son. And so Tom was raised in an orphanage, with no family to love him. An orphanage was not a kind place in those times, and it was certainly not a suitable place for a child to grow up to be compassionate and loving.

Tom Riddle grew up with the Second World War raging around him. The events of the war alone changed normal children. But Tom was not a normal child. He went through more during his childhood years than most adults go through their whole life. Tom could make strange things happen. He could talk to snakes. At the same time, he had no friends, other than the snakes, who he could confide in. He was always mocked and taunted for his odd character.

And so Tom relished having the power that magic gave him. He had never had any sort of control over his life, let alone others. Being a victim of bullying, it was only natural that Tom would use this power to get rid of his bullies first.

Things were not much different when Tom got to Hogwarts. Blood purity was of great importance, and Tom had been brought up by no less than Muggles. His father was a lowly Muggle, yet he had believed he was superior to Merope, Tom's mother, and had abandoned her and his unborn child because of their 'unnatural' ability to do magic. It is not surprising, that one of Tom's first actions, after coming of age, was to confront his cruel father.

Tom Riddle was an extremely intelligent and resourceful student. The need to prove himself, to make a change, to show the pretentious purebloods, that he a mere halfblood could make an impression, was ingrained in his genetic makeup. Not only this, Tom grew up knowing only this about his father: that his father had chosen to maintain his image over his son. One can assume that as a child, Tom probably felt that he was not good enough for his father. Being stamped as a disgrace by one's own parents makes the biggest impression of all on children. So Tom not only wanted to prove himself as a halfblood, but also wanted to show Riddle Sr. that Tom did not need the approval, or support, of his father to do great things.

Many consider Tom Riddle to be 'evil' as he fought so viciously for blood purity and the establishment of wizard superiority over Muggles. After all, they say, his own father was a Muggle. But in young Tom's mind, this was perhaps the most logical solution to prevent future children from having a troubled childhood like his. If Muggles had been forced to bend to the will of wizards, as Tom wanted, his father would never have had the option of betraying him. His mother would never have sunk low enough to associate with a Muggle, in the first place.

Dumbledore was the one to introduce Tom to the wizarding world, yet he never trusted Tom. Many believe Dumbledore's account of the events regarding the Chamber of Secrets. They believe that Tom killed Myrtle by choice, when really it was just an accident. Tom Riddle loved challenges, and taming a basilisk was certainly a challenge for one clever and cunning enough.

Tom not only grew up during a Muggle war, but also a wizarding one. During his teen years at Hogwarts, Dumbledore was valiantly fighting Grindelwald. As Dumbledore had always been obvious in showing his apprehension for Tom, it is not surprising that Tom internally supported Grindelwald. He also had an example of a man rising from nothing and fighting for the eradication of Muggles. An example, not just to look up to, but also to learn from his mistakes.

Just after his seventeenth birthday, Tom confronted his father. Riddle Sr. snubbed him, and chose reputation over blood once more. Blinded by hurt and rage, Tom killed his own father and grandparents. He wanted to show them what it was like to have their life controlled by someone else, and to feel the blatant rejection from family. One can safely assume that young Tom was scared by the consequences of his actions, which led to further killing and the episode with his uncle, Morfin Gaunt.

Keep in mind, that these were the days of his childhood and as a teenager.

As a young adult finding his place in the world, Tom Riddle is again blamed for being cruel due to his obsession with overcoming death. His fascination with immortality stems from the way his mother succumbed to death, even though she was a descendant of the great Salazar Slytherin. It may seem that in seeking immortality Tom Riddle was simply trying to buy himself more time to control the world. However, it is obvious that his first and foremost goal was to overcome his fear of Death. It is natural for humans to eliminate factors that cause fear within us, and Tom Riddle was no exception.

As for his later years, it is unfortunate that like every great leader in history, Tom Riddle too wanted more and more power. Human nature inculcates this greed within us, and every ambitious person succumbs to it.

So ask yourself: can Tom Marvolo Riddle really be blamed for turning into a vicious creature? How could he be expected to trust, when he had never been trusted? How could he be expected to accept, when he had never been accepted? How could he be expected to love, when he had never been loved? And most importantly, who are you to judge him, when you've only heard Tom's most hated enemy, Dumbledore's side of the story?