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Hannibal Lecter's Identity and Ethos Essay

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Hannibal Lecter's Identity and Ethos

Anthony Hopkins, as Hannibal raises a few interesting ideas about reality, identity and our perception of the serial killer. First of all, the movie would have never been made if Hopkins, had not agreed to do the sequel (Sterritt). Second, even though Hopkins, has taken on numerous roles, his memorable roles (besides as Hannibal Lecter) are not so villainous such as his characters in "Remains of the Day or "Shadowlands. In relation to this ethnography of the audience viewing the film, Hannibal's ethos is directly tied to Hopkins, ethos and it shows in audience reactions.

Movie makers know the power of "celebrity in American society, and as Americans, we usually like to "cheer for
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The character, Hannibal, could be analyzed within any of Baudrillard's four orders, as aspects of his character fit into any one of the categories. Under the first order, Hannibal may be seen as a symbol or sign of an actual serial killer who may live in the present doing similar things. However, our morality resists this notion because we don't want to believe such "evil exists in

reality. But, to complicate matters, Dr. Lecter is a psychiatrist by trade. As a psychiatrist, he shows he is educated, well mannered, and intelligent not our typical image of a serial killer. If the words and images of the media represent reality within this first order, the psychiatrist or psychotherapist is increasingly important in today's society as the person who guides decisions and lives of people in therapy thus eliminating morality and replacing it with relativism to the self. Therefore, as a well-mannered and polite psychiatrist, Hannibal gains credibility with the audience and thus becomes a protagonist figure. So our basic reality in resisting the evil nature of Hannibal is supported by his occupation and intelligence.

Within the context of the second order, Hannibal's character represents something that masks reality. An analysis of this order leads to questions of Hannibal's identity mixed in with his ethos and the nature of the horror film genre. The largest
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