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Silence of the Lambs; Psychology

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caitlin moran

on 6 June 2013

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Transcript of Silence of the Lambs; Psychology

Movie Summary Psychological Analysis; Hannibal Lecter Undoubtedly somebody with the desire to eat another human has gone through some life altering event in which they're not the same after. During World War 2 in eastern Europe, Hannibal's parents were killed by burglars going through houses to steal supplies. Him and his sister were captured, and as the winter dragged on food supplies ran out. They grabbed his sister, and took her away. She never came back, and the group used her for food. From no treatment or support system, this horrible event caused him to exhibit Anti-Social Personality Disorder. People with this disorder have no regard for others, and no care for what is considered right and wrong on our society. He antagonizes people with harsh judgements, he uses charm to get what he wants, and is extremely egocentric. Hannibal is hostile, lacks empathy, and lacks remorse in hurting others. My interpretation is that his cannibalism was a form of revenge fantasy for what happened to his sister Mischa. Hannibal also likely had Sadism, an enjoyment of inflicting pain or degradation upon others. People with this also have no remorse for their actions, although it is debatable whether Hannibal just had an extreme case of Anti-social Personality Disorder. Due to Hannibals extreme narcissism, I think he also exhibited Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Psychological Analysis; Buffalo Bill Treatment for Jame Gumb (Buffalo Bill) How would you go about treating somebody with this sort of pathology? Antisocial Personality Disorder is very difficult to treat, especially because one with it may not want or think they need treatment. One option is psychotherapy, or talk therapy. At this advanced stage of the disorder that Jame Gumb had, it is likely that therapy would not be affective. At present there is no specific medication for APD. These medications may include anti psychotic, antidepressant or mood-stabilizing medications. Early treatment is the best thing possible for somebody with this condition. As for Gender Identity Disorder, the only thing one can do is ensure they are in an open environment with a good support system. Sex change surgery is very common as well. Treatment for Hannibal Lecter Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies (CBTs)
The CBTs uses insight both verbal and intellectual to produce an emotional result on the patient. CBTs believe that the verbal cues, sentences often repeated serve as inner dialogues that would lead to healing if used in a positive sense. For instance, continuously saying “I am lovable” could later on produce positive results to the person’s self-esteem as it reinforces the person’s belief in one self.
The therapist's role is to interpret the data the patient discovers (psychoanalysis) by enabling the patient to relate past experience and open up to the therapist. Another role the therapist has to play in order to effectively handle personality disorder in Hannibal Lecter is to actively strive to make the patient feel emotionally safe. To put the patient in an environment that is beneficial in creating positive changes in the patient. I think this would be the best form of treatment for such a severe case as Hannibal's. Medications such as anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-psychotics would also be beneficial. Clarisse Starling, FBI agent in training is sent to the Baltimore Mental Hospital to speak with Dr. Lecter. Hannibal Lecter is a convicted murderer and psychiatrist, and was caught as a cannibal who ate his victims. Hannibal is seen as a calm, brilliant, and respectable man. But as he speaks his true act comes out and his manipulation and cruelty is seen. This fake persona is a trick to get what he wants; freedom and Clarice's childhood memories and experiences. For some reason he is intrigued by her, and feels some sort of connection to her. For example, the inmate next to him was yelling at Clarice, and she later found out that Hannibal was whispering all afternoon to the next door cell mate. He was found with his tongue swallowed, only pure manipulation and psychopathy could make such a thing happen just by speech. Clarice and the FBI are also on the search for a serial killer, known to skin his victims. "Buffalo Bill" or Jame Gumb has a known connection to Hannibal, and its up to her to find out what it is. Catherine Martin, the senators daughter has been kidnapped by Buffalo Bill. Through clues and exchanges of agent Starlings traumatic life events, Hannibal will slowly reveal more. Summary Continued... After an exchange of Buffalo Bill's name by Dr. Lecter, he is transferred to a special cell in Tennessee. He is visited by Clarice, and he asks her about her most traumatic childhood event. She tells him of when she woke up, after the death of her father and mother on her uncle's ranch. She woke up the the screaming of lambs being slaughtered, and her attempt to save them by running away with one. Later that night, two guards bring Hannibal his dinner of his choice, lamb chops. He somehow got a sharp piece of metal, and as they handcuffed him to his cell he picked the lock. He violently attacked the guards, and pretended to be injured and wore one of the officers faces in order to get into the ambulance. He then attacked the ambulance workers and got away. With his help Clarice was able to find Buffalo Bill's house, and she shot and killed him. Freeing Catherine as well. A few weeks later Clarice receives a call from Europe, and it is Dr. Lecter. He asks her if the lambs have stopped screaming yet, and says he is having an old friend for dinner. Although Jame Gumb's childhood events were not revealed, I speculate that he underwent extreme trauma. Whether it was in the form of sexual or physical abuse, something messed this character up very much. Kidnapping ladies after pretending to be injured and in need of assistance is already a terrifying thought – turning sympathy into torture. Buffalo Bill definitely had Anti-Social Personality Disorder, displaying the same lack of empathy for his abducted victims. His murders and acts of skinning the ladies wasn't without a point. He also likely had Gender Identity Disorder, as shown in his dance scene where he puts on make up etc... Hannibal revealed that he was rejected for the sex change surgery due to childhood trauma. He removed the skin of many, and in turn was going to create a suit of the women's skin so he could finally feel complete. Psychiatrist Lecter said of Jame Gumb: “Look for severe childhood disturbances associated with violence. Our Billy wasn’t born a criminal, Clarice — he was made one through years of systematic abuse. Our Billy hates his own identity, you see. He always has, and he thinks that makes him a transsexual. But his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying.” An important scene is when he refers to his victim as an 'It' while giving her directions. This in a way dehumanizes her, and is his personal justification for his actions. An interesting point to add is that when his victim got a hold of his small dog and was keeping it in the well with her, he got extremely upset and angry. He showed an enormous amount of love and affection for the dog, but absolutely none for humans. This again shows his abuse by humans in the past.
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