(The Silence of the Lambs)
What’s the Matter with Him?
Well, he eats people (Gotta get your protein somehow, man). Hannibal Lecter or “Hannibal the Cannibal” is a notorious serial killer who has spent time both in jail and in an asylum for a personality disorder.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
This personality disorder is concerned mainly with how the sufferer thinks and perceives situations. While it does not outright explain Hannibal’s murderous tendencies, it can explain his cannibalistic ones – which seem to be the basis for his murder madness anyway. Some symptoms that Hannibal exhibits include:
*Magical thinking that influences behavior
Based on the way he interacts with Clarice, Hannibal seems to think that he can read her thoughts – that he knows more about her life than she reveals. Unfortunately, the innocent Miss Starling does not understand that Hannibal’s manipulation techniques only make it seem as though he is reading her mind. Instead, she is forthcoming with information about herself, and thus the more Hannibal gets, the more his strange beliefs are fed (He’s eating her mind).
*Odd thinking and speech
While having an agreeable discussion with someone, Hannibal might suddenly make the conversation obscene.
*Suspiciousness or paranoid ideation
Especially when referring to Dr. Chilton, Hannibal exposes his paranoia that the doctor is tormenting his patient. While Dr. Chilton doesn’t exactly appear to be a genial fellow (He’s kind of a tool), he is certainly not trying to harm Hannibal outright.
*Behavior that is odd or peculiar
…Yeah. That one’s obvious too.
*Lack of close friends or confidants
The Star-ling of the show is Clarice, who doesn’t glean too much information from Hannibal, but he definitely gets a few big clues about her. Other than that, Hannibal keeps to himself.
He’s Not a Sociopath?
Not all serial killers are sociopaths – a term for those with Antisocial Personality Disorder. Since Hannibal functioned well in society before he started biting people’s heads off (As a psychiatrist…), he would not fit the criteria that being a sociopath entails. His regard for the law up until he started in with cannibalism (That’ll get ya every time) means his problem is something else.
What About Bill?
We don’t spend much time with Jame Gumb, alias Buffalo Bill (Since we’re not trapped in a hole in his basement), so it is difficult to pinpoint his ailment. One could argue that Bill is experiencing something called Gender Dysphoria. As of the fifth edition of the DSM, this is classified as a mental conundrum. However, Hannibal Lecter does not believe that Bill really would prefer to be a woman.
It is certain that Bill’s treatment of people probably denotes some mental dysfuntion, but his treatment of people does NOT pertain to any questions he may or may not have of his sexual identity.
Is there Hope for Hannibal?
He is having a friend for dinner (Gross), so he doesn’t seem to have made much progress. Hannibal’s lack of regard for others and apparent enjoyment at manipulating Clarice, added to his complete distrust of his doctor promise that he will not be improving any time soon.