• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Free essay

    Sheikh Darwish's Role as the Prophet of Change in Mahfouz's Midaq Alley

    When he appears in western attire, the residents of the alley come to accept him. Sheikh Darwish's tendencies to don western attire, and his interactions with it, reveal the accepted creation of a vital link between Midaq Alley and the western world.

  2. Commentary on O. Henry's "Gift of a Magi".

    Tone also affects irony because to get his point across, the author creates the irony as stated before. So without the current view of the author and the main focus of the story, being the theme, the author would have no point of creating the irony.

  1. Commentary on a passage Perfume: The Story of a Murderer This passage ...

    "There he was safe at last", the line articulates the danger faced by Grenouille, suggesting cautiousness, alertness but ultimately a sense of relief that he is "safe". The passage begins with lengthy sentences, that sets the scene for Grenouille's impending realization, evoking suspenseful atmosphere.

  2. How a persons nurturing and upbringing triumphs over the natural way of being, in ...

    to his stomach"2, and as Buisse does, he "wanted to get rid of him as quickly as possible...immediately if possible"3 and ergo abandons him. The previous is, what I believe the beginning of Grenouille's detestation for humanity, and this is further induced when he lives with Madame Gaillard who in

  1. How and in what ways are the female characters in Perfume by Patrick Sskind ...

    It is likely that the physiological effects of being raped include a feeling of powerlessness. For this reason, Paulina seeks to empower herself in every situation possible. She is worried that the stranger Gerardo comes home with could have perhaps been a threat to her safety.

  2. Grenouille's Superiority In Patrick Sskind's 'Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer'

    This emphasises his inflated ego, depicting him as worthy, if not worthier, than God, as he goes so far as to insult and patronize him. Grenouille?s sense of superiority exists so wholly that not only does he apply inferiority to humanity, he applies it to what is consider to be the ultimate force, God.

  1. Lord of the Flies Summary and Analysis of Chapters 7,8,9 and 10

    * Jack makes the beast into a religious figure, a type of totem that he uses to rule and manipulate the members of his tribe. o He gives the beast the characteristics of immortality and the power to change form, making it an enemy to be feared.

  2. Explain how Sskind has used narrative to develop the plot and the characters in ...

    ?Beneath the swarm of flies and amid the offal and fish heads? is where Grenouille is first found at the fish market, telling us that he was a very insignificant being and that his birth would foreshadow what was to come in his life.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work