Dr. Hannibal Lecter was character that commonly appeared in the novels written by Thomas Harris. He first appeared in the novel Red Dragon as a cannibalistic serial killer and forensic psychiatrist. Lecter was also part of the succeeding novels as well as the movie and TV adaptations.


In Red Dragon, Will Graham found out that Lecter was a serial killer when he interviewed him about one of his patients. Lecter stabbed him and Graham almost lost his life. When he was apprehended and tried in court, Lecter got away by reason of insanity. It was explained later that Lecter did not fall in any psychological profile. Also, he was called a pure sociopath/psychopath although he lacked the other characteristics seen in people afflicted with psychopathy.

Lecter was presented as someone with impeccable taste in art, music, and food. He was known to prepare meals using his victim’s meat and other body parts. He also spoke a number of languages which included German, Polish, Japanese, Russian, French, Italian, and Spanish. Lecter also had high regards for well-mannered people and a number of people he killed were those who had bad manners.

In the Silence of the Lambs, more of Lecter’s personality and characteristics were described through Clarice Starling. It was also revealed that he proceeded with reconstructing his face through plastic surgery where he also removed an addition middle digit. In addition, Lecter possessed some unique characteristics like his eidetic memory and penchant for the method of loci.

Starling first met Lecter when she was assigned to seek his help in catching the serial killer, “Buffalo Bill.” They developed a relationship where Starling received clues from Lecter about Buffalo Bill in exchange for her childhood stories.

In Hannibal, Lecter came back to the United States as he tried to run away from the hired men of one of his victims. He was apprehended again as Starling tried to catch him on her own. Unfortunately, the people who were after Lecter also got to her and she was taken hostage. Lecter saved her and nourished her back to health while constantly sedating her. Starling refused to become his dead sister but she welcomed becoming his lover.

Hannibal Rising focused on Lecter’s childhood and the experiences that he had suffered before he became a serial killer. It was revealed how he and his sister became orphans at an early age and then how his sister, Mischa, was murdered and eaten by their captors in front of him. He also learned that he was advertently fed with the flesh of his sister without his knowledge. After his escape, he ended up in orphanage where he was bullied by his fellow orphans. Not long after, he taken in by his Uncle Robert and his wife, Lady Murasaki. Under his care, Lecter displayed great mental intelligence and he was eventually admitted to a medical school. However, his need to avenge his sister’s death continuously nagged him at the back of his mind. After his first kill, he started hunting down those who took part in the murder of his sister and he eventually ended up working for Johns Hopkins Hospital.