Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lecter series - unified analysis - part 39: Lecter's and Starling's psychological types


Psychological Types is the title of the sixth volume in the Princeton / Bollingen edition of The Collected Works of C.G. Jung. In the book Jung categorized people into primary types of psychological function. Jung proposed four main functions of consciousness:
Two perceiving functions: Sensation and Intuition
Two judging functions: Thinking and Feeling

The functions are modified by two main attitude types: extraversion and introversion. Jung theorized that the dominant function characterizes consciousness, while its opposite is repressed and characterizes unconscious behavior.
The eight psychological types are as follows:
Extraverted sensation
Introverted sensation
Extraverted intuition
Introverted intuition
Extraverted thinking
Introverted thinking
Extraverted feeling
Introverted feeling[a]

It is evident that Hannibal Lecter's dominant function is thinking, with feeling his least developed function - he doesn't display much emotional affect in the movie. Also, as described in the analysis of The Silence of the Lambs, he makes reference to all five bodily senses in his first meeting with Starling, thus indicating that he has a strong sensation function. His intuition is also fairly well developed - recall that he tells Clarice that he would "know" if she were to lie. However, his sensation function is stronger than his intuition function.

In The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter is able to keep his thoughts occupied for lengthy periods of time while alone in his cell, suggesting that he has an introverted side. On the other hand, he has gotten to know the other prisoners fairly well, as indicated near the beginning of the film: He not only knows Miggs' name, but he also knows his disorder (multiple personality disorder), as indicated by his use of the epithet "multiple Miggs". In Hannibal he's working as a library curator, a job which is to some degree suited to an introverted type. However, his job function includes giving lectures before audiences, which is a somewhat extraverted activity. What's going on, at least in The Silence of the Lambs, is that Lecter is an extravert who is going through a 'period' of introversion (his imprisonment). In Hannibal, Lecter is closer to 'equalizing' his introverted and extraverted sides, which is in line with his desire to become Mercurius, whom, as Jung said, "consists of all conceivable opposites."[b]

Above left: Clarice Starling, here shown after she has first walked into Jack Crawford's office, is an introvert (as described below). Above right: Hannibal Lecter is an extravert who, in The Silence of the Lambs, is going through a 'period' of introversion (his imprisonment).

Clarice Starling is an introvert. This is indicated by her shyness in the presence of Jack Crawford near the beginning of The Silence of the Lambs, as well as by the shyness and tentativeness exhibited by her during her first interview of Lecter in the same film. She is oriented more by feeling than by thinking, as indicated when she 'handles' certain situations by having emotional reactions accompanied by flashbacks to her childhood (as shown in the two screencaps below). What we have regarding Clarice Starling is that initially, feeling is her strongest function, with thinking being her least developed. However, the fact that later in the movie she uses thinking to solve Lecter's 'Louis Friend' clue (it's an anagram for 'iron sulfide'), and along with this, her intuition coming to the fore when she realizes the meaning of Lecter's 'simplicity' clue (and then has her revelation regarding what Jame Gumb is up to with the suit of skin), indicate that over the time period from the film's beginning to its ending, she is 'converted' from an introverted feeling type to an introverted intuitive type. We're never shown her having a very significant sensation function.

Above left: Starling cries after her first interview of Lecter. Above right: A few moments later she has a flashback to her childhood, in which she sees herself jumping into her father's arms upon his arrival home from work.

Lecter helps Starling develop her intuition and thinking, not only to make her a more effective FBI agent, but also, since he desires to become Mercurius, he must convert Starling to his Jungian opposite prior to 'fusing' with her. Starling is to provide Lecter with the psychological components that are weaker within him, including feeling.

a. Wikipedia, 'Psychological Types'. Web, n.d. URL =
b. Jung, C.G. The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 13. Princeton University Press, 1967. p. 237.


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