The Silence of the Lambs Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. In Chapter 1, who is the serial killer the FBI wants to interview, and what does he offer to Clarice?

The serial killer is Hannibal Lecter, otherwise known as "Hannibal the Cannibal". Dr. Lecter is a former psychiatrist who revels in mind games. The original purpose of the interview is to obtain a psychiatric evaluation. However, in the course of the interview, Dr. Lecter offers Clarice a valentine, which he says will possibly lead to her advancement.

2. Why would Dr. Lecter be offended by being interviewed by a FBI trainee? How does he control the environment around him? How does he control the conversation with Clarice?

Dr. Lecter is offended by being interviewed by a FBI trainee because Dr. Lecter is proud of his "accomplishments" and believes he is important enough to require a more important interviewer. Dr. Lecter can be described using many adjectives: proud, haughty, demanding, cultured, polite. He still asks that Clarice be provided with a chair, and he engages in conversation with her, though he is clearly directing the conversation. Dr. Lecter insults the psychological techniques employed by the FBI's Behavioral Science department. However, when another inmate insults Clarice by throwing semen at her, Dr. Lecter takes offense at the discourtesy and offers Clarice information which he says could lead to her advancement.

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