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Discuss the role of religion in Patrick Sskind's Perfume.

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Discuss the role of religion in 'Perfume' Patrick S�skind wrote the novel Perfume set at a time of significant change and unrest in 18th century France. During this period France transformed from a feudal society to that which relied on the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings supported by the established Church. This was the time of the French Revolution and the Age of Reason, which played a major part towards the deterioration of religion. The bubonic plague was also widespread in France during the 18th century, causing the decay and rotting of the human anatomy, and formed the basis for the putrid smells of France at the time. The main character of Perfume is Jean-Baptise Grenouille who has no real upbringing. His mother was murdered after his birth, and from there on he was passed from one place to another. This also meant that he was never taught morals or Godliness, he is deprived of any form of education what so ever. An extra fascinating point to Grenouille is the fact that he has an amazingly strong sense of smell which allows him to smell everything 100 times better than anyone else. "...With the one difference, however, that the alphabet of odours is incomparably larger and more nuanced than that of tones; and with the additional difference that the creative activity of Grenouille the wunderkind took place only inside him and could only be perceived by no other than himself".(pg 28) ...read more.


We know that this is his plan when he realizes "But of course this unique scent must be used in a raw state. He must set it down like the most precious gemstone. He must design a diadem of scent, and at its sublime acme, intertwined with other scents and yet ruling over them, his scent would gleam. He would make a perfume using all the percepts of art, and the scent of the girl behind the wall would be the very soul of it......For such a perfume, for a human perfume, he had need of other ingredients." (pg 200) .This suggests to the reader that the other ingredients must be other girls of the same state as the girl that will be the very soul of the perfume. To be capable of completing this self set task he knows, from previous experience, that the only way of doing so is to take the scent of blossoming virgin girls. But to be able to preserve and actually steal this scent he first "had to broaden his knowledge and perfect the techniques of his craft in order to be equipped for the time of harvest" ,(pg 179) which was the "crude process of distillation" (pg191). The idea of his perfect scent deriving from virgin females just blossoming is because they are pure and therefore all that is holy, but to Grenouille it ...read more.


It is a form of purity and holiness not just in Christianity, but also dating all the way back to Ancient Egyptians. The first significance of beautiful aromas for ancient Egyptians is that they would offer sweet-smelling sacrifices to the Gods to appease them. Secondly Pharaoh Mummies would be embalmed with perfumes and buried with sweet smells to ease there passage to heaven. Also Jewish ceremonies ritually use a mixture of spices and oils which were apparently created for Moses by God following his return from exile in Egypt. A final point as to why perfume and beautiful essences play such an important role in religion is that when the baby Jesus was born he was anointed with the famous Frankincense and Myrrh by the Magi, Frankincense symbolizing divine life and Myrrh signifying bitter death. Therefore Patrick S�skind obviously chose for Grenouille to go in search for the perfect scent to resemble the role that smell has in religion itself. This has the biggest reflection of God and religion in Grenouille. The role of religion in the novel Perfume is paramount. Religion can be seen as Grenouille himself; however the argument is whether he is a prophet of God or Satan. From this evidence I conclude that he is God or some kind of Prophet of God, even though he has no idea about religion or belief in God what so ever. ?? ?? ?? ?? Stevie Asquith English essay Perfume 1 ...read more.

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