Hannibal Lecter Character Analysis

Great Essays
Lauren Schletty
Prof. Plunkett
English 1101
16 November 2017

Silence of the Lambs
Horror movies are all about that initial physiological reaction, such as racing heart and sweaty palms. They do this through the use of fear and shocking the audience. One film that does exactly is Silence of the Lambs. A serial killer known as Buffalo Bill is murdering women, and partially skinning them. FBI student Clarice Starling tries to seek insight on Hannibal Lecter, a serial killer and cannibal, in an attempt to get information on serial killer Buffalo Bill's identity. Hannibal Lecter appears to look normal and well kept, but through the camera work and scenery of the film it is immediately realized that Doctor Lecter is the monster that makes this movie.
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Acknowledging Cohen’s Seven Theses, Thesis V: “The monster polices the borders of the possible.” Quoting Cohen he says, “From its position at the limits of knowing, the monster stands as a warning against exploration of its certain demesnes” (Cohen, 12). What he means by this is that monsters are warnings of the unknown. In this case, Hannibal Lecter’s mental state embodies the idea of antipsychotics that scared us so that we would not look deeper into it. Monsters keep us away from the unknown. In relation to Lecter’s psychotic tendencies, antipsychotics were clinically introduced in the 1970s. The rise of the drugs and the portrayal of Hannibal Lecter as a monster with psychological issues sparked fear of the unknown in society; fear of what might happen to the mentally ill and the effects of antipsychotics. In Silence of the Lambs Hannibal Lecter represents society's fear of mental illness and the near future of …show more content…
Hannibal Lecter violates social norms illustrating this as Cohen’s Thesis IV: “The monster dwells at the gates of difference.” This thesis refers to the monster being different from society. The monster (Hannibal Lecter) is something that does not fit within society's norms and as a result society fears these monsters. Being a cannibal Lecter is comprised as what society sees as different. Most people would consider cannibalism far from one's concept of general thought. In the book, Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film by Barry Keith Grant and Christopher Sharrett, there is a quote saying, “Society represses what is different from the norm, and it is the relationship between normality and the Monster that is the essential subject of horror (Grant, Sharrett). Lector is repressed from society and presumed to be locked away. Leading into Cohen’s Thesis III: “The monster is the harbinger of category crisis.” This thesis is trying to entail that monsters cannot be assigned to a specific classification, such as human or animal. In this case Lecter’s psychological state crosses the line of classification. Relating to Lecter not fitting in with society, being a cannibal has no classification. Although all through the film Hannibal Lecter is a well-known and notorious character he has no classification in society and does not conform to the normal culture.
In almost every horror film the monster somehow

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