Tuesday, October 1, 2019

‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’ Essay

Sà ¼skind allows similarities to be drawn between Grenouille and the Biblical figure, Satan, in order to contrast Grenouille from the mass of humanity – this corresponds with the theme of Existentialism in the novel. In terms of the Bible, Satan, or the Devil, was initially an angel that resided at God’s right-hand, who later conspired to become self-governing and consequently was condemned to Hell to be rejected and feared by humankind. Grenouille, by choice and his contempt for humankind, lived isolated in a mountain in Grasse. The narrator describes typical instances of reasoning for isolating one’s self in order to enhance the distinction of Grenouille’s reasoning, ‘We are familiar of people who seek out solitude: penitents, failures, saints or prophets†¦They do this to be nearer to God†¦ They act in the belief that they are living a life nearer to God’. Sà ¼skind creates this reference to God in conjunction with humanity, allowing the reader to register that the society in the novel is God-fearing, and hence inferior to the said creator. After establishing this, the narrator goes on to describe Grenouille’s reason for solitude. ‘Grenouille’s case was nothing of the sort. There was not the least notion of God in his head†¦he basked in his own existence and found it splendid’. This allows the reader to understand Grenouille’s reasoning is self-motivated and self-absorbed, this is unique. He isolated himself to be with himself and without purpose to God or humanity – this is ironic as the Bible states solitude is for God this similarly mimics the generally adopted attitude of the Biblical Devil, encapsulating qualities such as individualism and the ability to be self-governing. It is the mentioned qualities that are related to Existentialism – without out value or rule from God, Grenouille is self-determining, and hence transcends humanity and seperates himself from it, as humanity is on the contrary. The location setting during this time is relevant to Grenouille’s association to the Devil – The Devil is known to reside in the 7th layer of Hell; Grenouille resides isolated in the ‘godforsaken wilderness’ for 7 years ‘without creature comforts’ – the icy and inhumane atmosphere of both the Christian Hell and the mountain in Grasse can be likened to each other. These comparisons and contrast in the books allow the theme of existentialism to become apparent as it highlights Grenouille’s self-governing nature in his isolated habitat. This differentiates Grenouille as it appears this quality of preferring absolute solitude that only he possesses. His want for separation highlights his superiority to Humanity – this even foreshadows the immense power he will develop as the novel progresses due to his olfactory sense. Grenouille is determined by his desire, not by circumstance, whereas God determines humanity in the novel. Another example that likens him to Satan and God simultaneously is when Grenouille successfully concocts mimicry of human scent and becomes inadvertently accepted by the people. This completion of this task exposes his complete supremacy of humanity through creation, like God, and his still-existing contempt for humanity, like Satan. Grenouille celebrates, ‘a wicked feeling of triumph that set him quivering and excited him like an attack of lechery, and he had trouble keeping from spurting it like venom and spleen all over these people†¦his contempt for them was profound†¦because they were so dumb they stank’ (page 154). The use of the simile suggests his excitement is sinful – he intends to use his newfound power to conduct evil things. In this instance, Sà ¼skind is again pertaining Grenouille to Satan. The further use of such words as ‘venom’, ‘wicked’ and ‘spleen’ reiterate Grenouille’s evil feelings, em phasizing how he detests humanity, again a mimicking quality of the Devil. In this quote, Sà ¼skind suggests possessing a scent is to be stupid, and furthermore to be a part of humanity – Grenouille realizes that he possesses neither of these things, emphasizing their polarity, as this deems him superior to humankind. As it is stated in the bible, â€Å"And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light†, 2 Corinthians 11:14, this statement pertains to Satan having the ability to disguise himself and fool humankind. Similarly, Grenouille does exactly this by mimicking the human scent and gaining their acceptance in order to carry out his evil intentions. Through allusions to the Biblical figure of the Devil, Sà ¼skind compares Grenouille to him, allowing the Grenouille to have similar associations to the Devil and hence emphasizing his differentiation from humanity through contempt and rejection. In contrast, Sà ¼skind further alters the Grenouille’s discrimination from humanity as the characters gains more power through the sovereignty of scent, allowing him to be more closely compared to God. The novel highlights that scent is sovereign, ruling above all other senses and determining the quality of ones life, â€Å"He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men†. Scent is comparable to Religion in the novel – Grenouille is the only character who recognizes its sovereignty. 1 Peter 5:8 ESV / 11 helpful votes Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. â€Å"And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.† 2 Corinthians 11:14 â€Å"There was only one thing the perfume could not do. It could not turn him into a person who could love and be loved like everyone else. So, to hell with it he thought. To hell with the world. With the perfume. With himself†

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