Applying the Big Five to "Hannibal the Cannibal"

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Hannibal Lecter--the brilliant psychiatrist/cannibalistic serial killer from Thomas Harris's series of horror novels--is a very vivid character who can be analyzed through the lens of the Big Five personality principles.

Openness to Experience:

Hannibal Lecter is very open to new experiences. He is very well-read in many different fields and loves to acquire new knowledge whenever he can. Once could say that Lecter takes this particular principle a bit too far. Lecter's cannibalistic ways, for example, were probably a result of his high openness to new experiences, which in this case is obviously an unattractive and horrifying personality trait.


Hannibal Lecter is a very conscientious man. He is very well-kept and organized. He is also incredibly thoughtful, especially when communicating with others. His murders are also very calculated and well-planned. He is certainly not sloppy when he commits them.


It's hard to judge whether or not Hannibal Lecter falls on the high or low end of this category. He can be extroverted when he needs to be--he is a psychiatrist after all; his job revolves around talking to others and getting to know them--but he can also be very quiet and reserved. I would probably place Lecter in the middle of this category as he is very flexible when it comes to extroversion.


In my estimation, Hannibal Lector is very disagreeable. When you think of the atrocities he commits, it's very clear that his actions are simply not agreeable. At the very least, I certainly think his victims would agree.


With it's meaning in this sense, I would not consider Hannibal Lecter to be a neurotic character. He is very secure and confident when it comes to his emotions and it is very difficult--nearly impossible--to cause him have a break down. He seems to be very desensitized to the things that would cause others a great deal of emotional pain and stress.

Do you agree with my assessment of Hannibal Lecter? Comment below.

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I would definitely agree with your above assessment of Hannibal's characteristics. It is interesting how he fits into the Big Five we have discussed in class, see that many only see Hannibal as a cold blooded killer, it would be hard to see him as conscientious, or extroverted. One would not put the mind or a killer and conscientious together in most situation, but in the way it is described above it seems to make total scene. Furthermore, the way in which you describe his openness to new experience is some what disturbing, yet true. He does enjoy many different aspects of life, some sick and twisted, none the less, he was willing to give it a try.

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This page contains a single entry by joh09617 published on April 22, 2012 7:38 PM.

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