Silence Of The Lambs: The Battle Between Two Evils Essay, Research Paper
Silence of the Lambs: The Battle Between Two Evils
December 18, 1996
In the novel, Silence of the Lambs, we see two different extremes of
evil. Dr. Chilton is evil in one respect, while Dr. Hannibal Lecter is evil in
his own unique way. Dr. Chilton is the man with bad morals and feels the need
to control people. He manipulates people into thinking and acting the way he
wants them to. Basically he is the type of guy who takes advantage of his job
position, who thinks of himself before others and only acts in ways that will
benefit himself. Dr. Hannibal Lector, unlike Dr. Chilton, is unable to control
his evil even if he wanted to. Dr. Lector is insane and feels the need to kill
people just because he thinks they are boring and from his point of view, they
do not seem suitable to be human beings. He understands the things he does are
evil, but they do not phase him since he is insane. There is no question, Dr.
Lecter is a truly evil man, but Dr. Chilton is the worse of the two.
Dr. Chilton must morally change and take responsibility for himself. Dr.
Lector is not able to take control of his evil because of the way his distorted
mind thinks. Although his mind is distorted, it is still a very powerful mind
which he uses to see into the minds of others. He gets into their heads and
plays with their minds, internally torturing them. He is a sick man and needs
therapy and constant care in a hospital because he is too sick to help himself.
On the other hand, Dr. Chilton is capable of changing, if only he could realize
his evil ways. He is blinded by his own power and greed which he obtained
through his job.
Unlike Dr. Lector, Dr. Chilton has total control of his actions.
Another difference between the two, Chilton does not set out with doing evil in
his mind. He has become so evil that he is not even aware of his evilness. It
almost seems like a natural and everyday thing to him. This is why Chilton is
the more evil between the two. We, the ordinary people, almost have to
sympathize with Lecter because the man is so sick in the head. It seems like he
wants to make jokes about his killings and no sane man could do that. This is
why we see Dr. Chilton as the evil man, because Dr. Lecter does not know any
better while Dr. Chilton should.
Dr. Chilton is the prime example in Xunzi’s argument that the “nature
of man is evil.” He is an evil person who does nothing to change this about
himself. Chilton is envious of others and possesses physical desires, exactly
how Xunzi explains evil people. According to Xunzi, the evil of man must depend
on teachers and laws to become correct and achieve righteousness and become
disciplined. Dr. Chilton is the law who refuses to learn from anybody.
In Xunzi’s essay, “Human Nature is Evil,” Xunzi goes on to say that man
desires. This is obvious in Chilton’s case as he tries to control people and
have all the power that he possibly can get. If one follows his natural
feelings, like Chilton, he will have no deference or compliance. Chilton does
have one exception to Xunzi’s beliefs, and that would be how Xunzi says that all
men desire to be good. Unless Chilton’s definition of good is to have
everything that he needs for himself no matter how he obtains it, he does not
seek for himself to be a good person. According to Xunzi, mad desires to be
good because he can see that nature is evil and one must strive for the opposite.
Xunzi would say that Chilton is a blind man who cannot see his own evil.
He needs to wake up to the world around him and not to his administrative
position. Xunzi also says that man must rely on the government to result in
good order and to be in accord with goodness. Chilton is actually part of the
government and this is a possibly reason why he cannot see how the government
should be helping him. The same rules that the government expects people to
live by do not pertain to Chilton, in his eyes, because he on the inside. The
government spoils those on the inside and only truly enforces the laws to the
outsiders because they can not see the internal flaws of the government.
In this story we are confronted with two unique evils, Dr. Chilton’s
and Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s. Dr. Lecter’s is the more common evil. When we think
of pure evil, Dr. Lecter’s style of evil comes to mind. But if we were to
search further into the meaning of evil, we would see that Dr. Chilton’s more
subdued evil ways or even more mischievous. After examining Xunzi’s essay,
“Human Nature is Evil,” we get a better understanding why Dr. Chilton is truly
an evil and devious man. So when we think of evil, the most obvious form is not
always the most wicked.