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Six Positive Traits of Hannibal Lecter

hannibal lecter hopkins

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter

Hannibal Lecter is one of the better villains in literature and cinema. My parents weren’t about to let me watch The Silence of The Lambs when it came out,  but I managed a viewing shortly afterward at a friend’s house.

As frightening as so much of the movie was, I still think the most chilling and memorable part is the first time Clarice sees him, standing politely at attention, the perfect, erudite gentleman…locked away in an asylum for being a beast.

But we know his bad qualities. One of the most fascinating things about Hannibal’s character is that there are so many positive traits mixed in with the horrors.

1. Manners

He is always polite when not actively involved in someone’s demise. Sometimes I feel like I’m one of the few people left who think manners matter.

2. Curiosity

Lecter asks lots of questions. He is well-versed in just about everything, and as such, never seems surprised by much.

3. Erudition

Similar to Judge Holden in Blood Meridian, Lecter’s able to lecture on just about everything. One of the things I did love about the book Hannibal was the scene in Italy where he gives the art lecture to all the geniuses and wows them.

4. Loyalty

I thought the end of Hannibal was absolutely absurd, but for his own reasons, he stuck by Starling.

5. Teaching through questions

I doubt Socrates would have been very happy to have his methods employed by someone like Lecter. He hints more often than he tells. He leads people with questions instead of spelling things out for them. This agitates the people who come to him for help, but they always seem to find their way to the answers he points at.

6. He is a fine cook

Disregard what he is eating. From the reactions of the dinner guests in Red Dragon, he knows his way around the kitchen.

Please feel free to fill in the gaps. I’m off to try and forget the ending of the second movie.


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