Book Report – The Silence of the Lambs

“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ is regarded as one of the best films of this generation, directed by Jonathan Demme and released in 1991. The story is a chilling tale that makes you shudder and cringe, following FBI agent trainee, ‘Clarice Starling,’ as she tries to work with the intimidating criminal ‘Hannibal Lecter,’ or as he is more known to the public of the story ‘Hannibal the Cannibal,’ to try apprehend serial killer ‘Buffalo Bill’ who is currently on a spree of kidnapping and killing.

Firstly, Hannibal Lecter fits as a gothic protagonist because he is generally secretive or surrounded by an air of mystery.  Lecter has quite an eerie vibe to him, firstly seen as he states throughout the movie “quid pro quo,” which is a Latin phrase meaning “a favour granted in return for something.” He demands information about Clarice’s life before he tells her about Bill. He has no reason for this gesture but it does come across as really creepy and it does almost feel like during the film that it is foreshadowing taking place because tells of daunting memories such as her father being killed when she was young. He thrives off this as he sees her start to feel weak and small as painful memories come flooding in. This could also be interpreted as another factor of the gothic protagonist because he has a “need to know” or curious nature. Lecter also comes across as mysterious as he tells of his own past as he started as a highly-rated psychiatrist. “Five foot ten, strongly built, about a hundred and eighty pounds; hair blonde, eyes pale blue. He’d be about thirty-five now.” He is scarily good at getting to know his victims and manipulating their thoughts and getting what he wants from them, and he also tells stories of when he starting his serial killing rampage, and how he killed a census taker, eating his liver with the utmost delight. Secondly,  Lecter shows traits of a gothic protagonist as he holds a position of power. The FBI need him to co-operate in order to track down Buffalo Bill, but Lecter is already in a life sentence in jail so why should he? He can toy around with them all he wants because he has nothing to lose, which puts his status above everyone else. He is then able to manipulate them into whatever he wants just to get what they want from him, but little do they know he is always plotting a cunning plan…

Overall, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ is a great film and will be regarded as a outstanding storyline for years to come. The storyline follows a gothic protagonist, in Hannibal Lecter that shows some of the main traits that makes him such a spine-chilling figure. Jonathan Demme was able to aesthetically create a dark vibe to go with the tale which again foreshadows the upcoming events nicely.

One Reply to “Book Report – The Silence of the Lambs”

  1. Ethan,

    You need to develop your personal response more in this entry.

    I would also like to see you convince me further that your chosen character fits our gothic protagonist definition.

    Mrs. P

Respond now!