May 28, 2012
University of Phoenix
Change: An Analysis of The Silence of the Lambs
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) is a film based on the novel by Thomas Harris, directed by Jonathan Demme. This film is a psychological crime-drama-thriller. Each of the main characters in this film share, in their own ways, a desire for change. The purpose of this paper is to analyze three main character’s roles in the film, and their wish for transformation. Clarice Starling is an FBI academy cadet; Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a psychiatrist-cannibal serial killer; and Jame Gumb (a.k.a. “Buffalo Bill”) is a tailor-serial killer of women. One other symbol of change in this film is the cocoon that transforms into a Death’s Head Hawk moth. Clarice Starling was raised in West Virginia by her police officer father, who was killed in the line of duty when she was 10. She is sent to live with her uncle on a farm. One of the most important underlying storylines, and also where the film gets its title, lies here. One day she witnesses the slaughtering of the lambs, and she can hear them screaming. She tries to save one by running away with it, but gets caught. She is sent to live in an orphanage, where she spends the rest of her childhood. Clarice graduates from the University of Virginia and attends the FBI academy hoping to work in behavioral sciences. Lecter makes reference to the screaming lambs at different times throughout the movie. There are a couple of different motivations behind Clarice Starling’s desire for change. The first motivation is that she has a need to distance herself from her past. In the film, Clarice is sent to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Her goal is to get any clues possible about the serial killer, “Buffalo Bill.” What happens when she goes to see Lecter is quite the opposite; he starts to analyze her. The following is a quote from Dr. Lecter, which helps to show that...