Maggie Kilgour Contrasts and Compares Civilization and Barbarity

She offers progress, regresses the merge between the two factors, and highlights their interconnectedness. In the argument, she talks about a person who is both civilized “…a man of great culture and refinement, a well-mannered gentleman”, but at the same time depicts barbarism “…as well as crude savage taste”. There is a high similarity between barbarism and culture. Even so, when she says “a well-mannered gentleman (who never eats ladies), it highlights that the civilized Lecter is not cannibalistic.

Culture determines the extent of barbarism in an individual. Her argument is that even refined people show some aspects of barbarism. She specifies that people classify as barbaric what they seem not to understand. For that reason, an aspect may characterize civilization in one area, but typify barbarism in a different ideological setting. Civilization and barbarism have a high similarity, and a person may embrace both qualities at different instances. Each society has its own extent of barbarity, depending on their level of reasoning on what they consider barbaric. Cannibalism is a physical form of exterminating another human, but there is also a psychological side attached to it that society ignores.

Maggie exemplifies Lecter as a person who shows both civilized and barbaric traits. Although he is civilized and refined, Lecter has a crude savage taste. Lecter is “a man of cultivated aesthetic as well as crude savage taste”, which simply means that he is a civilized cannibal. As such, cannibalism is not attributable to society as an entirety, but rather, it is an individual trait and expression.