Originally Posted by Evil Avatar
What? The ENTIRE focus of Hannibal was on him eating people. That's the whole thing with all the dinners and the big food presentation, he was killing people, eating them and serving them to his peers.
Originally Posted by Chimpbot
I guess you guys aren't actually very big Hannibal fans, huh :P
Hannibal wasn't just hungry for human flesh like some starving jungle cannibal. Did you not actually read or watch Hannibal (2007)
, his origin story?
Let me ask you, what did cannibalism actually mean to Hannibal? And who was the first person he ate, unwillingly and willingly you should know the answer, and why? Did it have anything to do with eating people?
The first person he eats, which he does not recall doing, is his own sister, but he doesn't learn that to later. He does recall his captors eating his sister. So he eats them, out of revenge
, not out of hunger.
Sure we know he's a cannibal, but the Hannibal story is not about cannibalism
, but about him who happens to be a cannibal.
In Silence of the Lambs, we know he's a cannibal. We don't actually see him eat anyone, it's merely implied at the end of the movie and maybe he bit that dude's face-skin off as part of his escape, but that wasn't eating his face either. It was cleverly filmed to make it look like he was simply eating the dude's face off--we learn later this was part of his escape plan.
In Hannibal (2001)
, we discover that Hannibal doesn't target indiscriminately, rather he liked to eat the rude. Again, it was about revenge for him, about the horror that it inflicted on those he targeted.
And this is born out especially in the end of the film when he eats the brains of the FBI agent while he is still alive, thus having his victim join him. But this agent is also the one who has been oppressing Starling, and it is his revenge on him for hurting her too.
And in the book, Starling apparently join in and agrees to eat some of his brains as well, also out of revenge--not because she was hungering for human flesh.
We also learn that Hannibal did things like feeding a bad musician to a group of people, turning them secretly into cannibals. He also does this in the more recent TV show (S1).
Just because the cannibal-notion is a bright feature of that character does not mean the films, the stories, or that character was driven by cannibalism. Lecter would've still been a great fiction character without that aspect.
He didn't bounce around talking about how much he wanted to eat people, how hungry he was for human flesh, how a human live tastes better than cow live or something like that--that would be a character driven by cannibalism, rather than using cannibalism as a feature of his actual motivations.
He kills his parole agent and eats him for revenge. He kills and eats Ray the FBI agent for revenge. A cannibalistic meal is for him something like the idea that stolen fruit tastes all the sweeter for the crime, it's a meal that has real meaning for him, as a symbol of revenge. But he doesn't go around stockpiliing human bodies in a refrigerator and butchering them like livestock so he can have in every mean some human flesh. It was not for him an irrational compulsion like that.
He was not killing and eating random people. If he had, I would concede you have a point. His cannibalism was motivated and calculated by intellectual things, and used for effect. He liked to eat the rude is different from someone who simply liked to eat human flesh in general.
It is perhaps like the difference between a soldier and a murderer. One kills for compulsion, the other because it's serving a higher ideal--at least ideally. Lecter's ideal just happens to be about politeness and class making you worth living.