The Age Of Enlightenment In Patrick Suskind's Historical Statement

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Suskind uses literary historical details to narrate the story of a self-obsessed man, who commits horrendous crimes to achieve his objective. In the narration, Suskind carefully crafts the historical importance of the Age of Enlightenment. That was an important period in European History because, the age of Enlightenment encouraged Europeans to shift away from the religious based understanding of the universe. Suskind wrote “Perfume” when rational thinking superseded the common perception about the religious side. My discussion on the literary historical details will primarily focus on Suskind’s portrayal of a self obsessed man in 18th century Paris with reference to the age of Enlightenment.

Patrick Suskind set his story in 18th century Paris,
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The spirit of human generosity repulsed him so much that he did not hesitate to enjoy killing women one after another. Grenouille’s sensibility and addiction in a way reconstructs a different perception about the age of Enlightenment. Grenouille’s lack of scent is not just lack of a body odor, but also the lack of morals, “because a reader can see that Grenouille is someone who has the physical characteristics of a man but without the substance that fully establishes one as a human being. The sense of smell itself is always a way in which a person’s soul is identified, without the ability to smell or produce a body odor, one cannot detect the soul of a person.” [3] A good sense of smell is relatable to human generosity, warmth and passion, Suskind writes about Gaillard, “For good all sense of smell and every sense of human warmth and human coldness, indeed every human passion. Without that one blow, tenderness had become as foreign to her has enmity. Joy as strange as despair”. Thus, Grenouille’s obsession for producing the perfect smell can be interpreted not only a form of self gratification but also creating a soul for himself because when he kills his victims he extracts their body odor, thus extracting their essence and rendering them soulless. In so doing, Grenouille in fact gruesomely acts against the very principles of the age of Enlightenment, and thus an antithesis of the human spirit of warmth, sensibility and humanity at large. Grenouille shows a conflicting personality because even though he lacks body odor, he feels that his inner most being is wonderful. While describing Grenouille, Suskind writes, “He wanted to empty himself of his inner most being, of nothing less than his inner most being, which he considered more wonderful than anything the world had to offer”. This shows Grenouille really believed in the superiority of his intelligence and his inner

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