Hannibal Revived: an Aestheticized Portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in NBC’s TV Series Hannibal


This article is an analysis of the portrayal of Hannibal Lecter as presented in NBC’s television series. The research focuses on the techniques employed in order to aestheticize, humanize and present the title character in a positive light for the audience to sympathize with him. Apart from the process of aestheticization, the paper also discusses the metamorphosis which Lecter depicted in the show has undergone. The article describes particular aspects of the character’s construction and the tools used to influence the audience’s perception of the cannibal.


Hannibal Lecter; aestheticization; art; humour; food porn

Black, Joel. 1991. The Aesthetics of Murder: A Study in Romantic Literature and Contemporary Culture. Baltimore/London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Breikss, Selena K.L. 2016. A Rare Gift. In: Joseph Westfall (ed.), Hannibal Lecter and Philosophy, 135-146. Chicago: Open Court.

Calabrese, Omar. 1992. Neo-Baroque: A Sign of the Times. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Fuchs, Michael. 2015. Cooking with Hannibal: Food, Liminality and Monstrosity in Hannibal. European Journal of American Culture 34.2. 97-112.

Fuller, Bryan. 2013-2015. Hannibal. Sony Pictures Television.

Gronstad, Asbjorn. 2008. Transfigurations: Violence, Death and Masculinity in American Culture. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Jones, Tim. 2016. A Little Empathy for Hannibal Is a Dangerous Thing. In: Joseph Westfall (ed.), Hannibal Lecter and Philosophy, 147-157. Chicago: Open Court.

Łuba, Dagmara. 2014. Embrace the Madness – Mroczna Władza Hannibala nad Umysłami. In: Krawczyk-Łaskarzewska, Naruszewicz-Duchlińska, and Przytuła, Seriale w Kontekście Kulturowym: Gatunki, Konwergencja, Recepcja, 165-174. Olsztyn: Instytut Filologii Polskiej Uniwersytetu Warmińsko-Mazurskiego.

Ndalianis, Angela. 2015. Hannibal: A Disturbing Feast for the Senses. Journal of Visual Culture 14.3. 279-284.

Pavelich, Andrew. 2016. The Light from Friendship. In: Joseph Westfall (ed.), Hannibal Lecter and Philosophy, 123-134. Chicago: Open Court.

Shaw, Dan. 2016. Empathy for the Devil. In: Joseph Westfall (ed.), Hannibal Lecter and Philosophy, 199-216. Chicago: Open Court.

Westfall, Joseph. 2016. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Dinner Party. In: Joseph Westfall (ed.), Hannibal Lecter and Philosophy, 171-184. Chicago: Open Court.

Clarke, Rowena. 2016. Consuming Television’s Golden Age with Hannibal Lecter. Alluvium 5.2. https://www.alluvium-journal.org/2016/05/31/consuming-televisions-golden-age-with-hannibal-lecter (14 July 2018).

Fuchs, Michael. 2017. Eat, Kill… Love? Courtship, Cannibalism, and Consumption in Hannibal. Adacemia.edu. https://www.academia.edu/26851554/Eat_Kill_Love_Courtship_Cannibalism_and_Consumption_in_Hannibal (15 March 2017).

Logsdon, Richard. 2015. Playing with Fire: An Examination of the Aesthetics of Collusion in NBC’s Hannibal. Academia.edu. https://www.academia.edu/12105805/_Playing_with_Fire_An_Examination_of_the_Aesthetics_of_Collusion_in_NBC_s_Hannibal (16 March 2017)

Pas, Daan. 2015. Analysing Hannibal, the Series. Academia.edu. https://www.academia.edu/11316774/Analysing_Hannibal_The_series (17 February 2017).

Wise, Sophie. 2013. NBC’s Hannibal: The Dichotomy of Elegance and Exploitation. The Artifice. https://the-artifice.com/hannibal-elegance-exploitation (1 February 2017).

Web 1 – NBC. “Photo Galleries.” https://www.nbc.com/hannibal/photos (17 February 2017).


Published : 2018-12-30

Ziomek, E. (2018) “Hannibal Revived: an Aestheticized Portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in NBC’s TV Series Hannibal”, Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies, (23), pp. 46-58. doi: 10.15290/cr.2018.23.4.04.

Ewa Ziomek 
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland  Poland