Sunday, May 10, 2009

Silence of the Lambs analysis - part 41: The events in Memphis (cont'd)


Above left: As indicated in part 34 of the analysis, no bread was served with Lecter's second meal in Memphis. Lecter drank the cup of liquid provided with the meal. Above right: Lecter attempts to perform a 'self-resurrection' in the Memphis ambulance.

Recall the earlier discussion of how the events in Memphis, Tennessee represent, in part, the Passover. These events are followed by Hannibal Lecter's attempt at resurrection (Lecter stages his own 'death', and then he attempts to resurrect himself in the ambulance). Since Memphis is the scene of the last conversation between Starling and Lecter (besides their brief phone conversation at the end of the movie), the story of the childhood lamb, that Starling has been sharing with Hannibal, comes to its conclusion: Lecter tells her that it must be her belief, that if she saves Catherine Martin, she will never again have to hear the screaming of the Spring lambs. Since Passover is celebrated during Spring, it can be seen that there is a correspondence between the lambs being slaughtered at the ranch where Clarice was living at some point during her childhood, and the lambs that are killed during Passover. Since Clarice represents the Virgin Mary, the lamb she is holding in Lecter's drawing represents Jesus, the Lamb of God. (Of course, it is also supposed to be a depiction of her childhood lamb that she had tried to save.) Lecter's statement is to be taken as a suggestion to Clarice's unconscious mind that by virtue of her goal of saving Catherine, she is to believe that she wants to, and can, save or 'rescue' Jesus.

Christian tradition, based on New Testament and later writings, links the Last Supper, the last meal Jesus ate before his death, with Passover. According to the apostle Paul, as Jesus prepared himself and his disciples for his death during the Last Supper, he gave the Passover meal a new meaning. 1 Corinthians 5:7 states:

"Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"

This refers to the Passover requirement to have no yeast in the house and to Christ's identification as the Paschal lamb.

The Christian annual religious feast of Easter has become associated with Jesus’ crucifixion, and the loaf of bread and cup of wine served at the Last Supper has come to symbolize his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed (1 Corinthians 11:23–26). One interpretation of the Gospel of John is that Jesus, as the Passover lamb, was crucified at roughly the same time as the Passover lambs were being slain in the temple, on the afternoon of Nisan 14 (this interpretation is often held to be inconsistent with the chronology according to the Synoptic Gospels). Easter itself commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, and not his crucifixion.[a]

As the Israelites partook of the Passover sacrifice by eating it, most Christians commemorate the Lord's unselfish death by taking part in the Lord's Supper, which ordinance Jesus instituted (1Corinthians 11:15-34), in which the elements of bread and wine are reverently consumed. Most Protestants see the elements as symbolic of Jesus' body and blood, while Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians hold that the elements are changed into Jesus' literal body and blood, which they then eat and drink.[b]

In the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the bread and wine served with the Passover meal represent Jesus' body and blood, respectively.

Recall from part 34 of the analysis that the second meal served to Lecter, ostensibly represented both a Passover meal and a Lord's Supper; however, no bread was served to Lecter, unlike the normal Passover meal, and unlike a normal Lord's Supper as well. Since no bread was served to Lecter, he could not have partaken of Jesus' body. However, since he drank the liquid (representing wine) provided with the meal, he symbolically partook of Jesus' blood prior to his attempt at resurrection.

a. Wikipedia, 'Easter'. Web, n.d. URL =
b. Wikipedia, 'Passover'. Web, n.d. URL =

[If you are only interested in viewing the explanation of the film's hidden plot, continue on to part 61 of the analysis. Otherwise, use the buttons below to navigate the analysis.]


1) In certain instances it has been determined that the creators of some of the productions analyzed on this blog, and/or the creators of source material(s) used in the making of these productions, may be making negative statements about certain segments of society in their productions. These statements should be taken as expressing the opinions of no one other than the creators.

2) This blog is not associated with any of the studios, creators, authors, publishers, directors, actors, musicians, writers, editors, crew, staff, agents, or any other persons or entities involved at any stage in the making of any of the media productions or source materials that are analyzed, mentioned, or referenced herein.

3) In keeping with the policies of the filmmakers, authors, studios, writers, publishers, and musicians, that have created the productions (and their source materials) that are analyzed, mentioned, or referenced on this blog, any similarity of the characters in these films or source materials to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


All images on this blog are used solely for non-commercial purposes of analysis, review, and critique.

All Wikipedia content on this blog, and any edits made to it, are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Marcus Aurelius's Meditations - from Wikisource (except where otherwise noted); portions from Wikisource used on this blog are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Saint Augustine's Confessions and City of God from Wikisource (except where otherwise noted); portions from Wikisource used on this blog are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Saint Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica from the 'Logos Virtual Library' website (except where otherwise noted), compiled and edited by Darren L. Slider; believed to be in public domain.