Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lecter series - unified analysis - part 24: Introduction to Jungian psychology


In The Silence of the Lambs, Aredelia Mapp (right) acts as a psychopomp for Clarice Starling (left).

One of the subjects that was discussed in the Manhunter analysis was how Hannibal Lecter (spelled 'Lecktor' in Manhunter) acts as a Jungian psychopomp for Will Graham, that is, Lecter serves, in part, as a mediator between Will's unconscious and conscious mind. And, discussed in the analysis of The Silence of the Lambs was how Ardelia Mapp serves the same function for Clarice Starling. We are now going to start further applying Jungian psychology to the Lecter movies. The below is a basic introduction to Jungian psychology.

Analytical psychology (or Jungian psychology) is the school of psychology originating from the ideas of Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung, and then advanced by his students and other thinkers who followed in his tradition. It is distinct from Freudian psychoanalysis but also has a number of similarities. Its aim is the apprehension and integration of the deep forces and motivations underlying human behavior by the practice of an accumulative phenomenology around the significance of dreams, folklore and mythology.

The overarching goal of Jungian psychology is the reconciliation of the life of the individual with the world of the supra-personal archetypes. Central to this process is the individual's encounter with the unconscious. Humans experience the unconscious through symbols encountered in all aspects of life: in dreams, art, religion, and the symbolic dramas we enact in our relationships and life pursuits. An innate need for self-realization leads people to explore and integrate these symbolic materials. This natural process is called individuation, or the process of becoming an individual. Individuation is a process of psychological growth and maturation and is of critical importance to the human being, and ultimately to modern society. In The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice is portrayed as undergoing this process of individuation, more or less under Lecter's guidance.

In Jungian psychology, the shadow is an unconscious complex defined as the repressed, suppressed or disowned qualities of the conscious self. According to Jung, the human being deals with the reality of the shadow in four ways: denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation. According to Analytical psychology, a person's shadow may have both constructive and destructive aspects. In its more destructive aspects, the shadow can represent those things which people do not accept about themselves. For instance, the shadow of someone who identifies as being kind may be harsh or unkind.

Anima and animus
Jung identified the anima as being the unconscious feminine component of men, and the animus as the unconscious masculine component in women. Jung stated that the anima and animus act as guides to the unconscious unified Self, and that forming an awareness and a connection with the anima or animus is one of the most difficult and rewarding steps in psychological growth.[a]

The Self in Jungian theory is one of the archetypes. It signifies the coherent whole, unified consciousness and unconscious of a person - 'the totality of the psyche'. The Self, according to Jung, is realized as the product of individuation, which as noted above, is a process of psychological maturation. Another way to think of individuation is that it is the process of integrating one's personality. For Jung, the Self is symbolized by the circle (especially when divided in four quadrants), the square, or the mandala.

What distinguishes Jungian psychology is the idea that there are two centers of the personality. The ego is the center of consciousness, whereas the Self is the center of the total personality, which includes consciousness, the unconscious, and the ego. The Self is both the whole and the center. While the ego is a self-contained little circle off the center contained within the whole, the Self can be understood as the greater circle.[b]

a. Wikipedia, 'Analytical psychology'. Web, n.d. URL =
b. Wikipedia, 'Self in Jungian psychology'. Web, n.d. URL =


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.