The
movie “The Silence of the Lambs” was released on February 14 1991. The movie is
about a FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) in training named Clarice
Starling who is assigned to interview a serial killer named Dr. Hannibal Lecter
in order to get some information on a current serial killer on the loose. Throughout
the movie many myths were brought up. A myth is an idea or belief that society
creates that is not true. A myth can be created by several sources, but most
commonly by media (movies, news articles, social media). The three myths that
stood out to me that were portrayed in the movie are the following: “all serial
killers are monsters and psychopaths”, serial killers are born to be serial
killers and all serial killers are male”.

            The first myth portrayed in the
movie “The Silence of the Lamb” that I will be discussing is “all serial
killers are monsters and psychopaths”. Dr. Hannibal Lecter was described to FBI
trainee Clarice Starling as a “monster and pure psychopath” (Demme, Saxon, Utt,
Bozman, 1991). It was also discussed that “they have tried to test him, but
he’s much too much sophisticated for the standard test” (Demme, Saxon, Utt,
Bozman, 1991). In today’s society serial killers are often described as
“psychopaths” and “monsters”. Although some serial killers are psychopaths,
most of them only have traits of a psychopath, but don’t actually fit the
certain criteria of a psychopath. Today’s society also refers to a serial
killer as a “monster” because of the horrifying things that they have done.

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Although they have done very serious things they shouldn’t be referred to as a
“monster”. In the article “Pioneering FBI Profiler Answers Questions About
Serial Killers” Mr. Hazelwood explains his view on why serial killers shouldn’t
be referred to as “monsters”. He describes that his reasoning for this is
because “the person then applies his or her idea of what a monster looks or
behaves like and consequently, when the offender is identified, the public is
shocked at how normal he appears” (Knoll IV, MD, Robert R, Hazelwood, 2012). What
Mr. Hazelwood is referring to by saying that a serial killer appears to be
“normal” is that it could be anyone from our society for example a doctor,
lawyer, a neighbour, a close friend, etc.

            The second myth portrayed in the
movie “The Silence of the Lambs” that I will be discussing is that “serial
killers are born to be serial killers”. When asking someone in our society if a
serial killer is born a serial killer (“Nature” Serial Killer) or becomes a
serial killer (“Nurture” Serial Killer) most people say that they are born that
way, but in fact most aren’t. Most serial killers are encouraged by
environmental factors, which is in the “nurture” category rather then the
“nature” category. In a discussion between Dr. Hannibal Lecter and FBI trainee
Clarice Starling, Dr. Hannibal Lecter tells Starling that “Billy wasn’t born a
criminal, he was made one” (Demme, Saxon, Utt, Bozman, 1991). Billy who is
referred to as “Buffalo Bill” who is the serial killer on the loose went
through childhood disturbances with violence that has led him become a serial
killer. Dr. Hannibal Lecter was trying to convince FBI trainee Clarice Starling
that most serial killers are encouraged by the environment around them rather
then biological factors. He did this because as explained above society
believes that serial killers are “born with this trait”.

            The third myth portrayed in the
movie “The Silence of the Lambs” that I will be discussing is that “all serial
killers are male”. The movie supports the myth of “all serial killers are male”
because it was only portraying the male perspective. The main character, Dr.

Hannibal Lecter is a male, which again shows the audience, only male
perspectives. In society the myth that all serial killers are male is well
supported in the media, news articles and social media. Women are looked at, as
they can’t commit the severity of these crimes. The myth also supports the belief
that males are more aggressive in nature then women. In class it was discussed
that nearly 17% of serial killers are female. According to “The National
Institute of Justice” in the article “What Defines a Serial Killer?” serial
killers are sexual driven (Psychology Today, 2017). According to society men
would be linked to this crime as they are usually sexually driven, where as
women are seen not to be sexually driven when committing a crime.

            The three myths discussed above are
the following: “all serial killers are monsters and psychopaths”, serial
killers are born to be serial killers and all serial killers are male” can show
how society creates an image of a typical serial killer. The two myths that are
supported in the movie are: all serial killers are monsters and psychopaths”
and “all serial killers are male”. The third myth “serial killers are born to
be serial killers” is discussed in the movie by Dr. Hannibal Lecter, while
trying to convince the audience that this isn’t true in all cases.