Religious and Spiritual References to Distinguish between the Protagonist and Humankind in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

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'How does Suskind use religious and spiritual references to establish a distinction between the protagonist and humankind in the novel 'Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’?

Süskind 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’. Süskind 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...
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