An interesting reflection of the darker side of human nature, it is worth pointing out that Dr Lecter is a nihilist, as can be exemplified in the many conversations recounted in Hannibal. The good doctor's non-belief complements his amoral stance on society and is used in both the books and the films as an explanation of his brilliance and originality.

Again, I think this maybe be simple fascination that our time has for emerging philosophical thoughts, which will inevitably fade into the passe as time moves on, however Dr Lecter does exemplify the superman category in nihilism almost perfectly. He is highly intelligent, very well educated, with refined tastes, a vast knowledge in almost every conceivable area, incredibly skilled, and with a belief only in himself, and nothing else.

Laws seem not to exist for Dr Lecter, and part of his charm seems to be his innate freedom of will even when locked away in his deep dark cell.

Perhaps this is why the last book felt a little disapointing, Lecter was free to roam as he pleased, and there was very little direct tension between himself and the rest of the authorities in the book until the very end, when the inevitable occurred. The book seemed to be a gentle exploration of his character, as opposed to the novel it was meant to be, and Dr Lecter while a superb agent of plot, and character development in others, doesn't seem to take well to the open sunlight of a lead role in a novel. Maybe this is true of all nihilists, they need to be nihilist within the context of a society, and would find it difficult to non-believe were they left in nature by themselves and free to do as they willed...

But I digress.