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Hannibal Lecter
Lecter, Hannibal
Age 23 (Hannibal Rising)
42-44 (Red Dragon)
45 (The Silence of the Lambs)
40's (Hannibal)
Alias(es) Hannibal the Cannibal[1]
Chesapeake Ripper[1]
Occupation(s) Psychiatrist
Status Unknown
Relatives Mischa Lecter (sister; deceased)
Count Lecter (father; deceased)
Simonetta Sforza-Lecter (mother; deceased)
Robert Lecter (uncle; deceased)
Murasaki (aunt)
Relationships Clarice Starling (Wife/Lover)
Other info
First appearance Red Dragon
Last appearance Hannibal Rising
Portrayed by Brian Cox (Manhunter)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon)
Gaspard Ulliel
Aaran Thomas (8 years old) (Hannibal Rising)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal TV series)
Hannibal Lecter gallery

Hannibal Lecter VIII (born November 20, 1933) is a Lithuanian-American serial killer, notorious for his habit of consuming his victims, earning him the nickname "Hannibal the Cannibal".

Orphaned at a young age, Lecter moved to the USA, becoming a successful psychiatrist. He was eventually caught by Will Graham, who later consulted him for advice on capturing the "Tooth Fairy". He escaped incarceration whilst assisting Clarice Starling in capturing "Buffalo Bill".



Lecter was born in Lithuania in 1933 to a wealthy aristocratic family; his father, simply known as Count Lecter, was a descendant of the warlord "Hannibal the Grim" (1365-1428) who defeated the Teutonic Order at the Battle of Grunwald, in 1410, while his mother, Madame Simonetta Sforza-Lecter, descended from both the Visconti and Sforza families who separately ruled Milan for a total of 250 years. He is the eighth in his blood-line to bear his ancestor's forename.[2]

Lecter may have also been descended from Giuliano Bevisangue ("Bevisangue" means "Blood-Drinker"), a feared and ruthless figure in 12th-century Tuscany, and from the Machiavelli bloodline. Lecter himself would pursue this subject, to determine from the records of the Capponi Library if there was any true connection to Bevisangue, but he was unable to answer the question. Lecter was a distant cousin of the artist Balthus.[3]

Childhood and BereavementEdit

When Lecter was six years old, he was introduced to his sister, Mischa, who was born in 1939. The two formed a strong, affectionate bond. When he was eight, his family left their estate to live in a lodge in the forest in order to escape Hitler's Blitzkrieg. Three years later, his parents, tutor, and family retainers were killed by a German bomber attempting to disable a Soviet tank (decades later while flying between Europe and the United States, Hannibal dreamed of being six at the time of these events).[2]

The lodge was invaded by a group of former Lithuanian collaborators turned looters. Lecter and Mischa were held captive by said looters. Mischa was cannibalized, but Lecter escaped, only to be severely traumatized by his sister's death and was rendered mute. Mischa's death would haunt Lecter for the rest of his life; Hannibal explains that it destroyed his faith in God, and thereafter he believed that there was no real justice in the world.[2]

After the looters fled, he wandered the forests until he was found by a tank crew. The soldiers cut the shackle from his neck, which had stripped away pieces of his skin, leaving a scar that would never truly heal. He was also carrying, at this time, his father's binoculars: the binoculars stayed with him for many years and featured again later.[2]

The Soviets returned Lecter to his family's castle, which had been converted into an orphanage. The war had many lasting effects on the children, and many of them became bullies. While living there, he frequently attacked and severely wounded many of his fellow orphans, but only those who bullied, hurt or insulted others. Lecter called on his memories of the leader of the group of looters, Vladis Grutas, to inspire the anger necessary to hurt the bullies. He was well-behaved around the younger orphans, often letting them tease him a little, letting them believe him to be a crazed deaf-mute, and giving them his treats that he rarely received.[2]

Adoption and RevengeEdit

When Lecter was 13 years old, his uncle (the new Count Robert Lecter) brought him to his home in France. He formed a close relationship with his aunt, the Lady Murasaki, with whom he instantly fell in love. He was educated at home on his uncle's estate on the banks of the Essonne; his uncle encouraged him to take up painting while his aunt taught him aspects of Japanese culture. Still mute and disturbed by his sister's death, he saw the psychiatrist, Doctor Rufin. At age 13, he attacked a local butcher, Paul Momund, in retaliation for an obscene insult to his aunt. Robert Lecter died from a heart attack during a further confrontation with Momund. An enraged Lecter then committed his first murder, slashing Momund with a Tanto that had belonged to his aunt's samurai ancestor, Date Masamune. He then beheaded Momund and, after receiving a tip from his aunt's chef whilst they prepared a fish, sliced off his victim's cheeks and ate them, his first willful act of cannibalism. He then presented the decapitated head to Masamune. The murder brought Lecter to the attention of Inspector Pascal Popil, who intuitively grasped that he was guilty and pressed him to confess. Lecter proved impenetrable, however, even passing a lie detector test; thanks to Lady Murasaki's intervention, he escaped any blame. Following her husband's death, Lady Murasaki moved to a flat in Paris, where Lecter attended a boarding school. Popil, who was fascinated by both Lecter and Lady Murasaki, remained in close contact with them.[2]

Lecter excelled at the Lycée and graduated early, becoming the youngest person admitted to a medical school in France, where he was mentored by a Doctor Dumas. He had been alerted to the survival of the Totenkopfs who had held him prisoner, when he found a painting looted from his father's collection for sale in a Paris gallery.[2]

In 1951, he returned to Lithuania and the scene of his sister's murder. He excavated the ruins of the lodge where his family died and, upon finding Mischa's remains, gave her a proper burial. He also unearthed the dog-tags of the group of deserters who had killed her. One member of the group, Enrikas Dortlich, now an officer in the Soviet Border Guards, arrived at the scene intent on killing Lecter. Lecter, however, was not caught off guard and instead murdered Dortlich. Once again, Lecter consumed his victim's cheeks.[2]

Dortlich's murder put the group on alert and, due to the similarity of Lecter's first murder, placed him under renewed suspicion from Popil. Grutas dispatched a second member of the group, Zigmas Milko, to eliminate the problem by either bribing Lecter or killing him. Lecter killed Milko instead, drowning him in formaldehyde. Both Popil and Lady Murasaki try to dissuade him from hunting the gang. During a confrontation with Lady Murasaki, Lecter almost had sex with her, but relented at the last minute, claiming he had made a promise to Mischa. He attacked Grutas in his home but Grutas was rescued by his bodyguards. Grutas kidnapped Lady Murasaki and used her as a lure to draw Lecter to his death. Lecter, donning the Tanto, tracked Grutas to his houseboat. In a final confrontation, Grutas claimed that Lecter too had consumed his sister in broth fed to him by the soldiers, and it was to keep this fact secret that he was killing them. Enraged, Lecter eviscerated him by repeatedly carving his sister's initial into his body. Lady Murasaki was disturbed by his behavior and fled from him even after he told her that he loved her.[2]

Popil arrested Lecter for the murders, but there was little incentive for a trial; no evidence could be conclusively tied to him, and all the victims had been slavers and war criminals. His victims' association with the Nazis led Lecter to become something of a cause celebre in France, with communists and students marching for his release. Lady Murasaki visited him one last time while he was being held by the police, and saw that he had become completely emotionless. After receiving references from Doctor Dumas and from the head of the Police Forensic Laboratory, for whom he has worked as a volunteer, Lecter was released. He left France, killing the final member of the group, Bronys Grentz, while on a vacation in Montreal, before returning to his internship in Baltimore.[2]

Career as a psychiatristEdit

Lecter's drawings led to an internship at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, where he graduated with a degree in medicine and eventually settled. As written in Red Dragon, Lecter established a psychiatric practice in Baltimore in the 1970s. He became a leading figure in Baltimore society and indulged his extravagant tastes, which he financed by influencing some of his patients to bequeath him large sums of money in their wills. He became world-renowned as a brilliant clinical psychiatrist, but he had nothing but disdain for psychology; he would later say he didn't consider it a science, criticizing it as "puerile", and comment that most psychology departments were filled with "ham radio enthusiasts and other personality-deficient buffs".[4]

Killing spreeEdit

Lecter killed at least nine people before his capture. He also attempted to kill three others, including Will Graham, an FBI profiler,[4] and Mason Verger. Verger went through psychiatric counseling with Lecter as part of a court-order after being convicted of child molestation, and for viciously raping his own sister, Margot, who also went to Lecter for counseling. Verger invited Lecter to his home in Owings Mills one night after a session. Lecter drugged Verger and suggested he try cutting off his own face with a mirror shard. Verger complied and, again at Lecter's suggestion, fed some of his face to his Dobermans and ate his own nose. Lecter then broke Verger's neck with a rope used for auto-erotic asphyxiation and left him to die. Later, the dogs were taken to an animal shelter to have their stomachs pumped which led to the retrieval of Verger's nose, lips and parts of his forehead; however, the skin graft was unsuccessful. Verger survived, but was left hideously disfigured and forever confined to a life support machine.[3]

Benjamin Raspail was Lecter's ninth and final (known) victim in the Chesapeake series before his incarceration. Raspail was a not-so-talented flautist with the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra, and it is believed that Lecter killed him because his musicianship, or lack thereof, spoiled the orchestra's concerts; he was also a patient of Lecter's. Lecter would claim to Clarice Starling that the reason for Raspail's death was that Lecter "got sick and tired of his whining" during their appointments. Raspail's body would be discovered sitting in a church pew with his thymus and pancreas missing, and his heart pierced. It is believed Lecter served these organs at a dinner party he held for the orchestra's board of directors. The president of the board was later to have developed an alcohol problem and anorexia. Raspail was the former lover of Jame Gumb, who would later be involved in Lecter's life as the serial killer dubbed "Buffalo Bill".[5]

Not much is known about his other victims or how they were killed. They can be presumed to have been mutilated and in most cases, eaten. Victims included a person who initially survived, and was taken to a private mental hospital in Denver, Colorado. Others included a bow hunter, a census taker whose liver he ate with "fava beans and a big Amarone", and a Princeton student whom he buried. Lecter was given sodium amytal by the FBI in the hopes of learning where he buried the student; but Lecter, instead of giving them the location of the buried student, gave them a recipe for potato chip dip, the implication being that the student was in the dip. He had trained himself previously by administering self-hypnosis in case he was ever administered hypnotic drugs. Lecter committed his last three known murders within a nine day span.[4] Since one officer retired after seeing Lecter's basement, it can be presumed that parts of his victims were stored there.


Lecter was caught in March or April 1975 by FBI Special Investigator Will Graham. Graham was investigating a series of murders in the Baltimore area committed by a cannibalistic serial killer, and had sought Lecter out after discovering he'd treated one of the victims for a hunting wound. When Graham questioned Lecter at his psychiatric practice, he noticed some antique medical books in his office. Upon seeing these, Graham knew Lecter was the killer he sought; the sixth victim had been killed in his workshop and laced to a pegboard in a manner reminiscent of Wound Man, an illustration used in many early medical books. Graham realized that the hunting wound that led him to Lecter was similar to one in the illustration which inspired Lecter to further emulate the illustration. Graham left to call the police, but Lecter crept up from behind and stabbed him with a linoleum knife, nearly disemboweling him. However, Graham managed to survive the encounter, while Lecter was then apprehended by FBI agents and Maryland State Troopers. After Lecter's arrest, Graham was briefly committed to a mental institution and retired upon recovering from his wounds.[4] Ironically, the sixth victim that exposed Lecter was not eaten.

The courts found Lecter insane; this spared him the death penalty. He was instead sent to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane for nine consecutive life terms, under administrator Frederick Chilton. Many of the families of his victims pursued lawsuits against Lecter to have their files destroyed. The FBI exhumed the graves of four patients who had died under Lecter's care for further investigation into the cause of their deaths. He was nicknamed "Hannibal the Cannibal" in the National Tattler, a tabloid that also published unauthorized photos of Graham in the hospital after being attacked by Lecter. Another officer retired from the FBI after being the first to discover Lecter's basement. Lecter's electroencephalogram (EEG) showed an unusual pattern and, given his history, was ultimately branded "a pure sociopath" by Chilton, although this was because they did not know what to call him. Many in the field of psychiatry labeled him a "monster". The National Tattler described Lecter's crimes as "unspeakable practices". [5]


Lecter, while in custody, was said to be "far too sophisticated" for most forms of psychological evaluation, especially as he enjoyed staying abreast of all of the latest developments in his field. Since he knew how the tests worked, he could easily come up with the typical answers that would brand him as not being psychologically disturbed, and he also mocked the psychiatrists' attempts to profile him by folding their tests into origami.[5]

Lecter was a model patient until the afternoon of July 8, 1976. After complaining of chest pains, he was taken to the infirmary. After his restraints were removed for his electrocardiogram (ECG) he attacked a nurse, tearing out an eye, dislocating her jaw, and biting out her tongue and eating it. Chilton would later note that Lecter's pulse never went above 85 beats per minute "even when he swallowed [her tongue]." During the struggle with the orderlies, his shoulder was dislocated. Following the incident, Lecter was treated very carefully by the hospital staff, often outfitted with heavy restraints, a straitjacket and muzzle, and transported only when strapped to a hand-truck. Despite this high security measures, Lecter managed to create a handcuff key from two pens left in his cell by visitors.[5]

Chilton and Lecter's relationship was marked by mutual hatred; Chilton's status as a psychologist, his mediocrity and inflated self-importance offended Lecter, who often humiliated his keeper; while Lecter's constant mockery and elusiveness infuriated Chilton, who punished him by removing his books and toilet seat. At the end of Red Dragon, Lecter diagnosed this form of punishment as indicative of the damnation of society by half-measures: "Any rational society would kill me, or give me my books." By contrast, Lecter reached a mutual respect with his primary caregiver and warden, Barney Matthews, and the two often shared thoughts over Barney's correspondence courses. During the investigation of Buffalo Bill, the two would also discuss Clarice Starling. It is also implied at the end of the novel and of the film adaptation that Lecter seeks revenge on Chilton for the mistreatment that he endured at Chesapeake.[5]

During his stay in Baltimore State Hospital, Lecter would help with two FBI cases. Graham came out of retirement in 1978 to offer his insight on the "Tooth Fairy" case and upon arriving at a dead end, went to Lecter for help,, but before Graham went into retirement. Lecter gave Graham some valuable insights into the Tooth Fairy, but upon learning about the case, secretly sent a coded message to the killer, Francis Dolarhyde, to kill Graham and his family (which would later result in Graham's permanent disfigurement).[4]


Five years later, Jack Crawford sent FBI trainee Clarice Starling to Lecter to administer a psychological questionnaire. Starling, initially assuming the assignment was related to her studies, ended up getting him to help the FBI in the Buffalo Bill case. In both of these cases, Lecter used wordplay and subtle clues to help Graham and Starling arrive at the conclusions themselves.[5]

Buffalo Bill's last kidnappee was Catherine Martin, daughter of Senator Ruth Martin. Lecter told Chilton he would reveal Buffalo Bill's real name to Martin and was promptly flown to Memphis, Tennessee, and held at the Shelby County Courthouse. During his stay in Memphis, Lecter lied to Martin, giving her the fake name "William Rubin," or "Billy Rubin". (Bilirubin is a pigment found in feces. It is the same color as Chilton's hair, Lecter's hint that the name was fake. The film adaptation changed the name to "Louis Friend," an anagram for "iron sulfide" - fool's gold.) Starling then visited Lecter at his makeshift cell, and he gave her some final clues before making a bloody escape, killing two police officers during the ordeal. He escaped by making a "mask" from the face of one of the officers, donning the officer's uniform and pretending to be his own still-living victim so that he would be hurried away by ambulance while the authorities hunted for him.[5] He also murdered two paramedics and a touirst, stealing the latter's clothes and identity.

Life on the RunEdit

After plastic surgery and the removal of a distinctive sixth finger, Lecter relocated in Florence, Italy. Lecter avoided reconstruction of his nose to protect his uncanny perception of fragrances. In Florence, he took the pseudonym "Dr. Fell," possibly a reference to the Tom Brown translation of Martial's epigram "Non amo te, Sabidi" ("I do not love thee, Doctor Fell / The reason why, I cannot tell." Fell also means "cruel" or "fierce") As Dr. Fell, Lecter's dazzling charm won him the recently vacated position of museum curator; Lecter had, of course, murdered the position's previous occupant.[5]

Lecter's identity would be discovered by Florence detective Rinaldo Pazzi seven years after his escape from Memphis. Lecter had been going by the false name Dr. Fell and Pazzi, who had been disgraced when he bungled the "Il Mostro" case, saw a chance for redemption when he realized Dr. Fell's true identity. Pazzi struck a deal with Verger to get the doctor alive so that Verger could exact his revenge by feeding Lecter to a group of specially trained boars. In his efforts to capture Lecter, Pazzi found himself the doctor's prisoner, and he informed Lecter of his plot. After disemboweling and hanging Pazzi, Lecter returned to the United States. Both Verger and Starling would hunt him, hoping to get to him before the other. Lecter was captured by Verger's men, but Starling rescued him. In the ensuing fight, Verger's men shot her with two darts filled with sedatives. Lecter carried her away from the boars and convinced Margot Verger to kill her brother. Lecter left a voice message claiming responsibility for Verger's death.[5]

Lecter kept Starling in total isolation during the next few months, subjecting her to various conditioning techniques in order to systematically replace Starling's memories and personality and make her believe she was Mischa. After breaking Starling down, Lecter kidnapped her nemesis, Paul Krendler, who was trying to discredit her, as a final test. At the rented home that Lecter was living in, Lecter performed a craniotomy on a drugged Krendler and tastefully prepared and shared his brains with Starling and Krendler himself while Krendler was still alive.[5]

However, Lecter's plan to brainwash Starling ultimately failed, as he utterly underestimated her strong will; Starling refused to have her own personality sublimated, mocking his efforts to turn her into his sister. Then, she exposed her breast to Lecter and seduced him.[5]

The couple then vanished. In 1993, Lecter's former caretaker, Barney Matthews, spotted the two in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is stated on the last page of the novel that both Lecter and Starling were capable of murder at any time; in essence, whatever of Lecter's conditioning took created a "counterpart" of himself in Starling.[5]


Lecter was a small and sleek man but was deceptively strong. His left hand had a condition called mid ray duplication polydactyly, i.e. a duplicated middle finger.[5] He later performed plastic surgery on his own face on several occasions and removes his extra digit.[3] Lecter's eyes were a shade of maroon and reflected the light in "pinpoints of red". He also had small white teeth and dark, slicked-back hair with a widow's peak.[5]

He did not fit any known psychological profile,[4] though Frederick Chilton classified him as a "pure sociopath".[5] However, unlike subjects with sociopathy, Lecter did not exhibit pleasure from killing, which would have resulted in an accelerated heartrate. This was shown when Lecter viciously attacked a nurse, and his heartrate was noted to have never exceeded 85 beats per minute. When he killed two police officers upon his escape from custody, his heartrate did not exceed 90; the heightened rate of 90 was due to the exertion of beating one of the officers to death with a police baton. He also wasn't shallow or a drifter, as noted by Will Graham. Lecter simply described himself as being evil, stating that psychiatry is "puerile", and wrong to categorize different kinds of evil as different behavioral conditions. Lecter then supported this by stating that the inconsistencies in his behavior were traits of pure evil and that he did not possess a behavioral abnormality.[5]

Lecter was considered to be one of the most brilliant minds in the field of psychiatry. Socially, he was considered charming and an excellent host, who put on many extravagant dinner parties for his friends. He indulged in many hobbies and fields of expertise, from art, music, literature and of course culinary. His intellect was described as being impossible to measure. According to Barney, Lecter never lied. However, this was not true, as Lecter often misled the authorities and anyone who tried to categorise him. When captured for the first time, he lied about his age, that he tortured animals as a child and various other details about himself. While helping with the "Buffalo Bill" case, he gave the false name Billy Rubin. To those he liked, he was perfectly polite and respectable. However, despite his impeccable manners and a hatred of rudeness, Lecter displayed an extremely cruel wit and fondness of verbal put downs. He gave a callous personality reading of Clarice Starling on their first meeting. When meeting Senator Martin, he taunted her about her daughter in a vulgar manner. His articles could destroy or ridicule aspiring doctors, causing one doctor to cry. He also engaged in a battle of wits with Dr Chilton, and would take great pleasure in his public ridicule. He often enjoyed playing a game of wits with the authorities, in order to show that is was smarter than anyone else. His knowledge in human behaviour was immense and could use this to a frightening degree. He used his expertise to give accurate personality readings and also to convince an inmate to choke on his own tongue. He was known for his generosity, sending Barney a generous tip as a thank you for the decent way he was treated.

Dr. Lecter's unique intellect and memory was the product of a well-developed Ars Memoriae, or Memory Palace, a form of mnemonic discipline.[3] The young Hannibal was taught this discipline by his tutor, Jakov.[2]. This ability allowed Lecter to read entire books and transcripts of interviews with patients, although the palace could be a dangerous place for him. In one instance, Lecter retired to his palace in search of comfort only to become haunted by horrific memories he or his subconscious mind had stored there in numerous oubliettes. He also used it as a sanctuary; when he was being tortured with a cattle-prod, he entered his memory palace and layed his face against the coolness of a statue there.[3] It was mentioned by a psychiatrist that he could have several unrelated trains of thought going at the same time without disturbance from one another. This was explained by his ability to operate the separate hemispheres of his brain so that they acted independently.[2]

Lecter was a polyglot, being fluent in English, Lithuanian, French, Albanian, Russian,[2] and Italian.[3]


Clarice StarlingEdit

Lecter has loved Starling since the first time he met her. Starling allowed Lecter into her mind in return for leads and information on Buffalo Bill, which Lecter found fascinating. At the end of the novel Hannibal, it is stated that they have entered a sexual relationship with one another, and are living together. It is implied that it is a possibility Clarice Starling could 'scare him', suggesting that he has met his match personality-wise.

In The Silence of the Lambs, Starling provided possibly the best psychoanalysis of him, observing:

"You see a lot, Dr. Lecter. I won't deny anything you've said. But here's the question you're answering for me right now, whether you mean to or not: Are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? It's hard to face. I've found that out in the last few minutes. How about it? Look at yourself and write down the truth. What more fit or complex subject could you find? Or maybe you're afraid of yourself."[5]

Will Graham Edit

In Red DragonEdit

Graham and Lecter met very few times and their relationship is never shown as friendly. The closest they get to this is Lecter teasingly sending Christmas cards. The only time Graham visits the incarcerated Lecter is for help profiling Francis Dolarhyde, then known as the Tooth Fairy. Lecter is very little help and tries to set the killer on Graham's family. [4]

Despite being locked in a cell, Lecter still frightens Graham a great deal and seems to be the more powerful of the two in their conversations. Their only communication after this comes in the form of two letters from Lecter to Graham, teasing him about his murder of Garrett Jacob Hobbs and his injuries at the hands of Dolarhyde respectively. They both share a strong dislike of one another.[4]

In Hannibal (TV Series)Edit

Hannibal calls Will his friend multiple times throughout the show, however he manipulates and withholds very important information about Will's health from him. Hannibal is also Will's psychiatrist, which puts him in a great position as someone who Will Graham can truly trust, seeing as there are no other characters he can truly call his "friends" with no strings attached.


Lecter's confirmed number of victims is 28 (eight in Europe,[2] nine in the Baltimore area, five during his escape,[4][5] and six later on[3]). By 1990, the FBI knew of only 16 victims, Pazzi and the bow hunter being added to his original list of 14.[3] Lecter also tried to murder three others in the Chesapeake series. He also attacked a nurse and drove a man to suicide. It was uncertain whether the FBI knew of Lecter's role in Krendler's murder. Lecter also killed the curator of the Capponi Library in order to more easily assume his position as Library Curator.

Name Relationship to Lecter Motivation Method Book/Movie Year
Paul Momund - Rudeness to his aunt Beheaded with a tantō after slashing across the stomach. [2] mid 1950's
Enrikas Dortlich - Avenge Mischa's death Beheaded after being drugged. [2] mid 1950's
Zigmas Milko - Avenge Mischa's death Drowned in a vat of formaldehyde. [2] mid 1950's
Petras Kolnas - Avenge Mischa's death Stabbed through the neck with the tantō. [2] mid 1950's
Gassmann - Shot in the head with a silenced pistol. [2] mid 1950's
Mueller - Shotgun to the chest. [2] mid 1950's
Vladis Grutas - Avenge Mischa's death Disemboweled. [2] mid 1950's
Bronys Grentz - Avenge Mischa's death Beheaded with cleaver. [2] mid 1950's
Unknown Victim #1 - [4]
Unknown Victim #2 - [4]
Unknown Victim #3 - [4]
Unknown Victim #4 - [4]
Unknown Victim #5 - [4]
Bow Hunter - Body was set up in a "Wound Man" position. [4] c16th March 1975
Census taker - Liver eaten with "fava beans and a big Amarone". [5] betwwen 16th March -25th March 1975
Princeton Student - Assumed to have been made into a dip, then buried. [5] between 16th March-25th March 1975
Benjamin Raspail (victim #9 in killing order) - Annoyance Found in a church pew on 25th March. Lecter ate the pancreas and thymus after piercing his heart with a stiletto. [5] Disappeared 22nd March. Found 25th March 1975
Multiple Miggs - Rudeness to Starling Talked into swallowing his own tongue. [5] 1983
Officer Boyle - To escape custody Beaten to death with his own riot baton. [5] 1983
Officer Pembry - To escape custody Mutilated and skinned. [5] 1983
Ambulance EMT - To escape custody Shot to death. [5] 1983
Ambulance Driver - To escape custody Shot to death. [5] 1983
Lloyd Wyman - To steal his identity [5] 1983
Capponi Library curator - To take over his position as library curator [3]
Roger "Gnocco" LeDuc - To protect himself from a pick pocket Femoral artery severed; bled to death. [3] early 1990
Rinaldo Pazzi - To preserve his false identity Disemboweled through defenestration from a window of the Capponi library. [3] 1990
Matteo Deogracias - Neck slashed. [3] 1990
Donald Barber - Rudeness to himself Shot in the head with a crossbow, and placed in the "Blood Eagle" position. [3] 1990
Paul Krendler - Rudeness to Starling Shot in the heart with a crossbow after Lecter removed his cranium and cannibalized his frontal lobes. [3] July 4th 1990

Lecter's modus operandi was unique in contrast to most serial killers. He often murdered for revenge and retribution. This characteristic of his MO started early on, his first murder (Paul Momund) had insulted Lecter's aunt and Lecter then murdered him. The most relevant series of murders based on revenge was when he murdered all the members of the group of men that killed his sister Mischa.[2] He was seen neglectfully torturing Mason Verger for retribution of raping Margot Verger. He also murdered Paul Krendler for disgracing Clarice Starling.[3]

Lecter was most widely known to kill because of discourtesy and rudeness. This is first discovered when he drove IJ Miggs to suicide after Miggs had thrown semen at Agent Starling as she walked by his cell. Lecter told Starling that discourtesy was "unspeakably ugly" to him.[5] This was seen again when he killed the bow hunter who offended him.[3] Unlike most serial killers, Lecter neither killed for sadistic or sexual pleasure. The murders that are mentioned in the novels show that the victims die almost instantly. Raspail was stabbed through the heart, the deer hunter was shot in the head etc. He seemed to find amusement in arranging the bodies in various poses.

Lecter's signature style was poetic justice, placing his victim's bodies in positions that imitated the positions of figures in historical documents, art, and medical books. His most referenced poetic justice style murder was with his sixth American victim, who was laced to a pegboard in the position of Wound Man.[4] The next person killed in this way was Rinaldo Pazzi, when Lecter hanged him at the same location and in the same manner as Pazzi's ancestor. Lecter then mutilated Paul Krendler by performing a cranionomy on him, a medical tradition of the ancient Egyptians. When he killed the bow hunter, he placed him in a position of an ancient Norse execution method, the Blood eagle.[3]

Behind the scenesEdit


The ending of Hannibal sparked controversy among critics and fans, because of the apparent romance between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling. As a consequence, Harris wrote an alternative ending for the film adaptation: in the new ending, Lecter didn't try to brainwash Starling, and the infamous dinner party where Krendler's brain was served took place days, not months, after the death of Mason Verger. The police tracked Lecter down, and, in order to buy time, Starling handcuffed herself to Lecter. In the film's climax, Lecter grabbed a meat cleaver and prepared to chop off Starling's hand to escape. She was defiant, so Lecter tested her: he asked her to beg him to turn himself in to the police and renounce his murderous ways - if he loved her. Starling refused, and Lecter thanked her for not disappointing him; he then chopped off his own hand so he could escape. The film ended with a scene from the middle part of the novel, where Lecter was on a plane and gave some food from his Dean & Deluca travel pack to a child sitting next to him. While the novel made it clear that Lecter gave the child liverwurst, the film heavily implied it was left-overs from Krendler's brain. At the end of the film, Hannibal Lecter was still alive and at large.

Raspail's role in the film versions has been inconsistent; Lecter states he was killed by Buffalo Bill in the film version of Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling contradicts this in the film version of Hannibal, attributing the death of Raspail to Lecter, in which he is described as a flutist for the first time on film. The film version of Red Dragon opens with a scene based on the fate of the literary Raspail, yet the flautist goes unnamed in the film, the credits and the script, and appears physically unlike Raspail's head in The Silence of the Lambs, maintaining continuity between the two screenplays, both written by Ted Tally. However, it is possible that Lecter lied about killing Raspail, as he was seeking a transfer to a better facility at the time, and confessing to another murder was hardly likely to further that goal.

In Red Dragon, Harris wrote that Lecter tortured animals as a child, though this is not mentioned in Hannibal Rising.

Portrayed byEdit

Galleries of Hannibal LecterEdit

The following are individually sectioned galleries for each movie adaptation of Hannibal, excluding the television version (as there is a separate article for that).

Hannibal Rising GalleryEdit

The following are images of the young Hannibal Lecter, as shown in his prequel story.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Red Dragon
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 Harris, T. (2007). Hannibal Rising. Arrow Books. ISBN 0099489848
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 Harris, T. (2000). Hannibal. Dell. ISBN 0440224675
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 Harris, T. (1981). Red Dragon. g.p. putnam's sons. ASIN: B000SNRO8U
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 5.23 5.24 5.25 5.26 5.27 Harris, T. (1988). The Silence of the Lambs. St. Martins Press. ISBN 0312022824

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