Life lessons from Dr. Lecter

I’m left heartbroken by the fact that the  TV show ‘Hannibal’ has ended. (And what a gorgeous ending it was! Sheer perfection. )

‘Hannibal’ is oddly life- affirming for a show about a manipulative psychiatrist who’s also a cannibalistic serial killer. Hannibal Lecter is like the old Greek gods; our human standards of right and wrong just don’t apply to him. But  there are some things we can all learn from him.

To thine own self be true.  Dr. Lecter always encourages his patients to follow their natural instincts and embrace their uniqueness. Unfortunately, many of them turn out to be murderers, but that’s not the point.

Empathy is a superpower.  Will Graham uses this power to catch criminals, while Dr. Lecter uses it to connect with (and later control) people. I think the best way to cultivate empathy is by reading lots of fiction.


Always be courteous. The show’s tagline is ‘Eat the rude’. Dr. Lecter only ever eats discourteous people because he considers them to be pigs. Can we all mind our manners as a tribute to him, please?

Don’t be a victim of your circumstances. I think we all have the power to make choices and create our own life. Dr. Lecter says this when someone tries to psychoanalyse him-

“Nothing happened to me. I happened.”

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Live as if you were to die tomorrow. No one does this better than Dr. Lecter. He loves his job, but always finds time  to pursue his hobbies, like going to the opera, sketching, and cooking delicacies out of human meat.

“I’ve always found the idea of death comforting. The thought that my life could end at any moment frees me to fully appreciate the beauty, and art, and horror of everything this world has to offer.”


Love is understanding and acceptance.  ‘Hannibal’ is actually the most beautiful and tragic love story ever shown on TV. The entire show is about Hannibal revealing his true self to Will Graham, craving the friendship of someone who can understand the way he thinks.

Hannibal thinks of himself as a superior being, but he thinks that Will has the potential to be more than an ordinary mortal too.

“No one can be fully aware of another human being unless we love them. By that love, we see potential in our beloved. Through that love, we allow our beloved to see their potential. Expressing that love, our beloved’s potential comes true.”

I could feel his pain and heartbreak when Will betrayed him in the season 2 finale. He said something that anyone who’s extremely introverted ( like me) will immediately identify with-

“I let you know me… see me. I gave you a rare gift, but you didn’t want it.”



I end this post with these lovely lines that Hannibal says to Will, when he realizes that he cannot change him beyond a certain point-

“With all my knowledge and intuition I could never entirely predict you. I can feed the caterpillar, I can whisper through the chrysalis, but what hatches follows its own nature and is beyond me.”

No wonder the ending of season 3 choked me up.


3 thoughts on “Life lessons from Dr. Lecter

  1. lkeke35 says:

    Yes, exactly! Lecter wants Will to give in to his true nature.
    I loved the finale. I thought it was beautifully tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

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