Anthony Hopkins' on-screen presence in The Silence of the Lambs was just 16 minutes. So powerful was his interpretation of Dr. Hannibal Lecter that it earned him an Academy award for Best Actor in 1991.
We may all feel ashamed of ourselves to admit this, but there's a certain allure about Dr. Lecter that draws us in. Be it for his incisive articulation or for his exceptional olfactory sense (he is able to tell Clarice Starling's brand of perfume), he does leave an indelible mark on us as readers as well as viewers. The whole world is privy to Dr. Lecter's diabolical flair for feeding on people and finding their frailties and secrets.
There are layers of secrets hidden behind his Cheshire cat smile. And every time his face breaks into one you can feel the hair of your skin raising alarmingly. That ominous crackle in his eyes gives away his sinister motives at once but we still cling to him or rather willingly cling to him. His ability of reading into people's minds is another disconcerting attribute; imagine someone who can see right through you but is himself impermissible, excitingly frightening.
What is interesting is that Dr. Lecter isn't a product of childhood molestation or any untoward event that has left him scarred for life. He was crafted evil. Thomas Harris created a character who appears bone-chilling not because of the way he is but because of his easy normalcy.
Given below are some famous quotes by Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
Famous Quotes by Dr. Hannibal Lecter
"People don't always say what they're thinking... they just see to it that you don't advance in life."
"I imagine your little brother must smell almost as bad as you do by now."
"Tell me Clarice, would you ever say to me "Stop. If you loved me, you'd stop"?"
"When the fox hears the rabbit scream, he comes a-runnin', but not to help."
"You see, the brain itself feels no pain if that concerns you, Clarice."
"I came halfway around the world to watch you run, Clarice. Let me run, eh?"
"Would they have you back, you think? The FBI? Those people you despise almost as much as they despise you. Would they give you a medal, Clarice, do you think? Would you have it professionally framed and hang it on your wall to look at and remind you of your courage and incorruptibility? All you would need for that, Clarice, is a mirror."
"Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for her and find nourishment in the very sight of her? I think so. But would she see through the bars of his plight and ache for him?"
"You will not persuade me with appeals to my intellectual vanity."
"On a similar note I must confess to you, I'm giving very serious thought... to eating your wife."
Famous Quotes by Dr. Hannibal Lecter on God
"Did you really feel depressed after you shot Mr. Garrett Jacob Hobbes to death? l think you probably did. But it wasn't the act that got to you. Didn't you feel so bad, because killing him felt so good? And why shouldn't it feel good? lt must feel good to God. He does it all the time. God's terrific! He dropped a church roof on 34 of his worshippers in Texas last Wednesday night, just as they were groveling through a hymn to his majesty. Don't you think that felt good?"
"lt feels good because God has power. lf one does what God does enough times, one will become as God is. God's a champ. He always stays ahead. He got 140 Phillipinos in one plane crash last year. Remember that earthquake in Italy last spring?"
Famous Dr. Hannibal Lecter Quotes from Red Dragon
"And be grateful. Our scars have the power to remind us that the past was real."
"Then here's one... you stink of fear under that cheap lotion. You stink of fear Will, but you're not a coward. You fear me, but still you came here. You fear this shy boy, yet still you seek him out. Don't you understand, Will? You caught me because we're very much alike. Without our imaginations, we'd be like all those other poor... dullards. Fear... is the price of our instrument. But I can help you bear it."
"A robin red-breast in a cage, puts all of Heaven in a rage. Think to yourself that every day is your last. The hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise. As for me, when you want a good laugh, you will find me in fine state... fat and sleek, a true hog of Epicurus's herd."
"Remarkable boy. I do admire your courage. I think I'll eat your heart."
"That's the same atrocious aftershave you wore in court."
"Shh. Don't move. You're in shock now. I don't want you to feel any pain. In a moment, you'll begin to feel light-headed, then drowsy. Don't resist, it's so gentle, like slipping into a warm bath. I regret it came to this, Will, but every game must have its ending."
"Tell me, Will. Did you enjoy it? Your first murder? Of course you did. And why shouldn't it feel good? It does to God. Why only last week in Texas, he dropped a church roof on the heads of 34 of his worshipers, just as they were groveling for him. He wouldn't begrudge you for one Journalist."
Famous Dr. Hannibal Lecter Quotes from the Silence of the Lambs
"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."
"You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well-scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition has given you some length of bone, but you're not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you've tried so desperately to shed? Pure West Virginia. What's your father, dear? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? You know how quickly the boys found you ... all those tedious sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars ... while you could only dream of getting out ... getting anywhere ... getting all the way to the FBI."
"I've been in this room for eight years now, Clarice. I know they will never ever let me out while I'm alive. What I want is a view. I want a window where I can see a tree, or even water. I want to be in a federal institution, far away from Dr. Chilton."
"I would not have had that happen to you. Discourtesy is unspeakably ugly to me."
"All good things to those who wait."
"Nothing made me happen. I happened."
"You fly back to school now, little Starling. Fly, fly, fly. Fly, fly, fly."
"Look for severe childhood disturbances associated with violence. Our Billy wasn't born a criminal, Clarice. He was made one through years of systematic abuse. Billy hates his own identity, you see, and he thinks that makes him a trans-sexual. But his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying."
"Quid pro quo Clarice I tell you things you tell me things. Not about this case of course but about yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no Clarice."
"Well, Clarice - have the lambs stopped screaming?"
Famous Dr. Hannibal Lecter Quotes from TV series
"Love and death are the two great hinges on which all human sympathies turn."
"Do you believe you could change me the way I've changed you?"
"Be blind, Alana. Don't be brave."
"Psychic driving fails because it's methods are too obvious. You were trying too hard Frederick. If force is used, the subject will only surrender temporarily. Once a patient is exposed to the method of manipulation; it becomes much less effective."
"I didn't poison your dinner. I wouldn't do that to food."
"When it comes to how far he's willing to push you to get what he wants, he's certainly no saint."
"God is beyond measure in wanton malice, and matchless in his irony."
"Words are living things. They have personality, point of view, agenda."
"Before we begin, I must warn you... nothing here is vegetarian."
"First and worst sign of sociopathic behavior, cruelty to animals."
Actors Brian Cox, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Mads Mikkelsen and Gaspard Ulliel have personated the complex character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Though their interpretations were disparate, the one factor that remains coherent in all - is Dr. Hannibal Lecter's bestiality and unnerving charm.