Clarice Starling

Clarice Starling

    The Silence of the Lambs
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… in small-town West Virginia. She was raised by her father, a police officer who was killed in action when his daughter was about ten years old. Clarice then went to stay with her uncle on a farm, but soon ran away after something happened to scar her deeply.

Living… as a student at the FBI Academy. Clarice is a fresh new recruit who is smart and hard-working – at the top of her class, in fact. That dedication is why the young rookie is tasked with interviewing Hannibal Lecter, an imprisoned killer whose intelligence is unmatched. Hannibal has information about Buffalo Bill, a serial killer on the loose, and Clarice must win his cooperation to crack the case.

Profession… FBI agent-in-training. Clarice hopes to join the Behavioral Science Unit as a psychological investigator, and with her high grades, she's well on her way there.

Interests… psychology, catching criminals, and aiding her mentor, FBI director Jack Crawford. Jack, who has as much respect for Clarice as she does for him, helps her rise quickly through the ranks of the FBI and first assigns her to Hannibal Lecter.

Relationship Status… single. Clarice is a serious young woman who's dead-set on having a good career before tackling romance. When Hannibal taunts her by asking whether she's interested in Jack, Clarice coolly responds with, "That doesn't interest me, Doctor."

Challenge… catching Buffalo Bill. He’s a deranged serial killer who abducts and skins plus-size women. Luckily for Clarice, Bill also leaves a calling card in his victims' throat: a moth pupa belonging to the rare Death's-head Hawkmoth.

Personality… quiet, pensive, and intelligent. Although outwardly cool and collected, Clarice is slow to give up personal information, especially to a man as dangerous as Hannibal Lecter. Yet when Hannibal offers her information in exchange for details on her personal life, Clarice may have to overcome her past to solve her first case.


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