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Nevertheless, based on first hand information gathered by the authors biographer David Sexton, it is learnt that the character of Hannibal Lecter was based on that of William Coyne, a notorious serial killer who terrorized American society in the 1930s. In this context, one can claim that Lecters profile belongs to the Psychopath category. This assessment also makes sense when one considers the childhood history of Lecter. It should be noted that the novel The Silence of the Lambs does not delve into his childhood history. It is the fourth and fifth books of the sequel, namely Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, that provide greater detail about his early life. Nevertheless, since the underlying theme and the authorship of all these books are the same, one can arrive at the approximate profile of Lecter by cross referencing material from these novels and films. Although the brilliance of his mind was evident from the beginning and something that he was born with, his anti-social tendencies developed as a result of severely traumatic experiences in the past. In his early years in Lithuania, he witnessed the traumatic death and consumption of his sister Mischa, whom he had loved very much. This incident had left profound would on his psyche, which would turn him into a remorseless, cannibalistic psychopath.
The adage “take the help of a thief to catch a thief” fits so aptly in the case of psychopaths as well. In the movie The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling, a rookie FBI trainee, takes the help of Hannibal Lecter, who is in police custody, to identify and track down another serial killer with the name “Buffalo Bill”. While both Lecter and Buffalo Bill are psychopathic serial killers, the latter seems to be more indiscriminate and brutal in performing his crimes. The other distinction between the two is that Buffalo Bill is not shown to be cannibalistic, but Lecter clearly is. Buffalo Bill, whose real name is Jame
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