ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Diagnosis of Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)

Updated on April 23, 2008

What Makes Hannibal Lecter So Evil? A Closer Look at the Man Who Haunts the Big Screen.

Hannibal Lecter was born in 1938 in Lithuania. He belonged to a wealthy family. His father was a count. His mother came from aristocratic lineage of Visconti family from Milan. His younger sister was Mischa.

When he was six years old, he witnessed both his parents killed by German deserters. Lecter, his younger sister Mischa and other children were kept by the deserters to be slaughtered for food during the Baltic winter.

Lecter saw Mischa’s murder. Mischa was cannibalized by the German deserters. Lecter managed to escape. But the gruesome murders he witnessed scarred him for life. He lost his faith in God in the process. He believed that justice would not prevail. As a child, Lecter first manifested signs of sociopathic behavior in his sadism towards animals. He appeared to be unremorseful of his evil deeds. Also, he lied habitually.

He was later put in a government-owned orphanage where he lived for ten years. He tried to run away several times. But eh never stayed away for long because he got caught stealing food or clothes from the market. Frustration grew. Added to that was the misery he felt for losing his sister. He missed his terribly. At night, he would be found alone in his room talking to his dead sister.

Dr. Lecter would say later that his sister commanded him to do something everyday and he would carry it out. The employees at the orphanage did not sympathize with young Lecter. The financial strain of running an orphanage denied him the psychiatric care he desperately needed.

When he was 16, he was made to leave the orphanage and lived on the street. He stayed with his Aunt. There, he went to school. He was an extremely intelligent student but could not get along well with other children his age. At 20, his aunt disappeared.

Lecter moved to Baltimore, Maryland in the ‘70s. There he started his own psychiatric practice. He became very popular. He moved to New York where he became a part of a mental institution that provides counseling and aid to patients.

As per police records, Dr. Lecter killed at least nine people before he got captured. The last six were killed in a short period where he indulged in violence. All of his victims were partially disfigured. Dr. Lecter himself confessed to eating parts of his victims.

Lecter targeted men he considered mean and rude. Raspail the inferior flutist, Krendler the vindictive bureaucrat, Pazzi the corrupt cop, the census taker, even Mason Verger, one of his victims who managed to survive Lecter’ hatred —all of them reflected the traits of the deserters who cannibalized his sister.

Mischa’s gruesome murder became Lecter’s motivation for his later revenge and killing spree. Lecter wanted to seek revenge for Mischa and to restore dignity for his beloved sister.

By appearances, Dr. Lecter seemed soft-spoken, mild-mannered and very calm. He was clean-shaven and very warm. When asked about his childhood, he would only recall Mischa fondly, “Oh how I love her so. You know she talks to me every day. How could God abandon her?” About his belief in God, he said, “Why would I believe in a God who does not answer my prayers.” When asked the reason for his killing people, he said, “For I am royalty, a champion not simply without, but especially without God or law.” When asked if he wants to commit suicide, he replied, “Why would I want to kill myself.”


|---------------------------------------------- DSM-IV codes

|Axis I | Paranoid Schizophrenia ------------ 295.3

|Axis II | Schizotypal Personality Disorder-- 301.22

Antisocial Personality Disorder ------------- 301.7

|Axis III | Diagnosis Deferred

|Axis IV | Incarcerated for life

No social network

|Axis V | Global Assessment of Functioning-10


Dr. Lecter is able to act cognitively and achieved his desired end. He is quite delusional. He sees himself as royalty and even similar to God. He also experiences auditory hallucinations every night as he converses with his dead sister where she asked him to carry out tasks for her.

His delusions and hallucinations stemmed from the gruesome murder of his beloved sister. He does not entertain suicidal thoughts. He is extremely intelligent since he does so well in his studies and later on with his practice. He has a reputation of being a brilliant Doctor of psychiatry.

Dr. Lecter is a loner. He does not find time for social interactions. He was never in a relationship. His aggressive and violent behavior shows utter disrespect for the rights of others. He murdered nine people and does not feel a bit remorseful about his actions. He is capable of inflicting great danger to other people. He disfigures and cannibalizes his victims. One of those, a census taker, he boldly declares that he ate him with "fava beans and a big Amarone". Before turning fifteen, at such a tender age, he already experienced stealing food and clothes.

The global assessment scale of 10 is due to the fact that he has shown signs of being able to inflict severe danger or hurt to others. He relishes the idea of consuming his victims. He is not suicidal though and is able to look after personal hygiene. He is also capable of handling a full time job.

Treatment Modalities of 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 oneself.

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.

Dynamic Psychotherapy

Or Psychodynamic Therapy, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

At the start of the therapy the therapist get into a "pact" with the analysand (patient or client). The pact must require the patient to continue exploring his problems regardless of the length of time it takes not to mention expenses. This would make the therapeutic environment conducive to the patient’s progress because he/she is aware that the analyst would be there for him or her no matter how it long it takes.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago

      These are all great, but you gotta love Tim Curry/Pennywise taking a load off after a hard day of dgngriag children into the sewers to murder them, and of course Michael Myers drinking a Dr. Pepper and Johnny Depp/Ichabod Crane with a super soaker.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Also I forgot to mention that ASBD and Paranoid Schizophrenia are not illnesses which you would treat with CBT.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I don't believe this is accurate. You didn't mention the possibility of PTSD at all. Witnessing his sisters murder and then finding out that he actually ate her could/would have caused PTSD. I agree with Amy that CBT would be a waste of time unless you could find another Lector to do the therapy for him, someone with the same mind, aka himself.

      Also I disagree with ASBD because Lector has shown remorse for another, Clarice. He protects her, not for himself but out of the love he has for her, for who she is.

    • profile image

      mr gum 

      7 years ago

      he is royalty by blood .

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      There is a large difference between sociopathy/psychopathy and schizophrenia. Lecter's lack of remorse, anti-social behavior, and insatiable anger mark him as a textbook sociopath, not as delusional. Lecter displays the symptoms of a serious personallity disorder, not a medicatable mental health issue as you are suggesting.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm actually studying Hannibal for my dissertation in university. Although you make good points as some have mentioned there are also ones that are flawed, especially I believe your supposed treatment of him. You could not treat him with cognitive-behavioral therapy at all. He is far too complex for that and far to intelligent, his ability to anaylse others to such a great extent in a way makes him immune to others doing it to him, no one would be able to treat him or break through, the only person I believe could do that at all would be himself. Could you imagine him a room with someone trying to attempt that kind of treatment on him? Can you imagine it even slightly working?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is completely retarded, don't ever go into the psychology field.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      yeah Lecter definitely does not have Schizophrenia just had to say that

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I would like to point one thing out.

      Rasbail wasn't killed by Lecter. In fact, he was just an average, run of the mill depressent. It was Jame Gumb, the Buffalo Bill murderer, that killed Rasbail in his first attempt at his supposed 'metamorphasis' into something other than the average guy.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Well thought out!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Utter rubbish. The idea of him having schizophrenia is absurd. I hope to God you're not in the mental health field. He would be given Dialectical behavior therapy. Nice try. Go to a real school instead of an internet college you disgraceful goof!

    • profile image

      Jeana C 

      8 years ago

      Is this a synopsis of the movie, or of the book series?

    • profile image

      joe hackit 

      9 years ago

      thank you I neaded this it helped me with my paper.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      one part is wrong Treatment.. CBTs “I am lovable” and to think one may pathologize DR Lecter is absurd first he is A psychiatrist A brilliant one at that No social network? he has a vast amount of professional contacts and socially has dinner parties;)he is well asserted . he states That if one does what god does he will become liike god he has Discontent to his faith but is not quite blasphemies he has to much interest in the subject of good he dose not think he is god he just dose not understand him .

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for this information. I have been studying him, along with other cannibals, for awhiel now. This information has majorly helped me in my Psychology class in college.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      nice work homie

    • profile image

      Ms. Thomasa lambert 

      9 years ago

      Thank you for this information it helps me so much with my class in Interview Techniques. (college student)

    • Jimbabwe profile image


      10 years ago from London

      Very well done!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)