Hannibal Lecter, impeccable anti-hero

Some of America is aghast that their favourite person to dislike, Donald Trump, has praised Hannibal Lecter, the fictional character created by Thomas Harris. On paper – and in the films where the inimitable Anthony Hopkins plays the inimitable cannibalistic serial killer with impeccable taste – singing hosannas to a supervillain at an election rally is, at best, confusingly provocative, at worst, confusing.

‘Has anyone ever seen ‘The Silence of the Lambs’? The late, great Hannibal Lecter. He’s a wonderful man,’ said MAGA’s brand ambassador, where MAGA could well be ‘Make America Gastronomic Again’. ‘He oftentimes would have a friend for dinner. Remember the last scene? ‘Excuse me, I’m about to have a friend for dinner,’ as this poor doctor walked by…. But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations. The late, great Hannibal Lecter,’ Trump added before jumping into an anti-immigrant tirade. The confusing messaging actually sounded Bidenesque.

But coming back to the man himself, Lecter, or rather his depictions by Harris, Hopkins, and later by Mads Mikkelsen in the aesthetically joyous TV series, Hannibal, is, indeed, a glorious anti-heroic creation. Mikkelsen treats the psychotic killer as a fallen angel, Lucifer, in the finest suits and grand surroundings. If Milton fell for his devilish charms, why can’t Donald?


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