Monday, January 12, 2009

The brilliant murderer - Character Analysis

The character of Hannibal Lecter - a brilliant, genius psychologist (at least, brilliant at psychological analysis, not necessarily at therapy), and at the same time a vicious murderer.

The viewer gets the feeling that Lecter understands everything, that he has all the deep, hidden answers we've all been looking for or try to run away from. His utterly logical manner and brilliance of psychological understanding of people leads one to think that Hannibal represents the ultimate correct human behavior, the one that we would all adopt, if only we discovered the things he has discovered.

I think this represents the idea that the correct human way of living is as a predator: not just of the world, but of human beings as well. That ethics, like Nietzsche thought, is a self-made bondage, to be broken by the strongest of men.

I used to find this sort of character - of the brilliant murderer very intriguing. They always appear as logical, brilliant, independent (like Jack of all trades from the T.V. series Profiler). But now I understand its essence: a soul starved to make others face their own depravity and weaknesses, in desperate need of proof that their way of life is justified. They are especially attracted to people who are independent, kind, and see the good in others (In Profiler it was Sam Waters, in Silence of the Sheep it's Clarisse, the FBI agent). Because that is the ultimate opposite of them - that is what they must persuade and win over. They think that any human kindness or appearance of goodness is a result of self-deception of ethics, a result of that self-inflicted-bondage of conforming to the ethics that society prescribes. Thus, any kind behavior is weak behavior of a man too weak to break his bondage. The sight of an independent, thoroughly honest person enjoying other people's warmth is a warning sign to them, because it is the proof that they are wrong. And at the same time, they sense that such a character has succeeded at something they had failed at, and therefore they also fall in love with them.

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