'Tell me, what are you becoming?' Hannibal and the inescapable presence of the grotesque
Aesthetics philosopher Noel Carroll affirms that grotesque forms 'are all violations of our standing categories or concepts; they are subversions of our common expectations of the natural and ontological order'. In breaking structural boundaries, consequently, the grotesque appears as deformations, aberrations, exaggerations, metamorphosis or startling portmanteaus. Given both its nightmarish texture and the evil ingenuity of Dr Lecter's murders, Hannibal (NBC, 2013-15) ploughs fertile ground in putting together conceptually distant and even contradictory elements. Hence, this article explores how the aesthetic and philosophical principles of the grotesque are a pervasive presence throughout the entire Hannibal TV series, defining its style, characters' personality and metaphorical themes. Putting art theory in dialogue with the Hannibal televised text, this article demonstrates how the grotesque - one of the key concepts in Gothic horror - permeates every level of the show, from the opening credits to the protagonist's inner transformation, converting the narrative into a comprehensive and cohesive liminal artistic ecosystem.