Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hannibal Rising analysis - part 8: The reasons why Hannibal becomes a cannibal


In this post, we explore the issue of why it is that Hannibal Lecter becomes a cannibal.

1) In the bible, in 1 Corinthians 12, it is said that the members of the church are like the parts of Jesus' body (1 Cor. 12:27 says, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." [New International Version]). Regarding transubstantiation, the Gospel of John describes Jesus speaking to a crowd of Jews on how one can attain eternal life by partaking of his (Jesus') body and blood. Below is quoted John 6:51-56 [New International Version]:

51. [Jesus said,] "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." 52. Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 53. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him."

In accordance with the above, we realize that part of the reason Lecter is a cannibal, is because he wants to symbolically partake of Jesus' body and blood, by eating people (the members of the church), in order to become immortal.

2) In Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung's The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, there are listed five forms of rebirth, the fifth of which Jung calls "Participation in the process of transformation: [This is] indirect rebirth. 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."[a] Mass is the Eucharistic celebration of the Roman Catholic Church. The basic idea is that in partaking of Jesus' blood and body, via cannibalizing people, Lecter wants to experience rebirth. Rebirth will then enable Lecter to 'see the kingdom of God', for in John verse 3:3, Jesus says to Nicodemus, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." [New International Version]

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


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