Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lecter series unified analysis - part 3 - Lecter's attempt at rebirth (cont'd)


Continuing from the previous post, in which we began to describe Hannibal Lecter's attempt at rebirth, the next type of rebirth in Carl Jung's list is:

3. Resurrection. In this form of rebirth, human existence is re-established after death. There is a change in one's being involved: the resurrected person may be a different being, or only the general conditions of existence (for example, geographical location) may have changed.

In The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter didn't actually die in Memphis, and therefore, his subsequent supposed resurrection in the ambulance (see screencap below) is only an imitation of this form of rebirth. Lecter is not depicted as actually going through a resurrection in Hannibal, either.

Lecter's attempt at resurrection in The Silence of the Lambs.

4. Rebirth (renovatio). "The fourth form concerns rebirth in the strict sense; that is, rebirth within the span of individual life...Rebirth may be a renewal without any change of being, inasmuch as the personality which is renewed is not changed in its essential nature, but only its functions, or parts of its personality, are subjected to healing, strengthening, or improvement."[a]

During his period of imprisonment in The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter develops and strengthens his artistic abilities: Recall his drawing of Clarice holding her childhood lamb (below left screencap; drawn by Lecter while he's imprisoned in Memphis), and his drawing of the Duomo as seen from the Belvedere (below right screencap; drawn by Lecter while in his Baltimore cell). Thus, Hannibal is being depicted as experiencing this kind of rebirth.

5. Participation in the process of transformation. "Here the transformation is brought about not directly, by passing through death and rebirth oneself, but indirectly, by participating in a process of transformation which is conceived of as taking place outside the individual...This rite may be a ceremony such as the Mass, where there is a transformation of substances."[b]

Mass is the Eucharistic celebration of the Roman Catholic Church. In this celebration, bread and wine are served, representing Jesus' body and blood, respectively. In The Silence of the Lambs, it was described that Lecter's second meal in the Memphis scene had no bread served with it, but that Lecter drank the liquid that came with the meal. By drinking the liquid (water representing wine) provided with this second meal, which represented a Passover meal as well as a Lord's Supper (and was Eucharistic by virtue of the latter), Lecter symbolically partook of Jesus' blood; but since there was no bread, he did not partake of Jesus' body. Thus, he does not meet the criteria for this particular type of rebirth.

The second meal served to Lecter in Memphis, came with no bread.

a. Jung, C.G. The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 9, Part 1. Princeton University Press, 1969. para. 202.
b. Ibid., para. 205.


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