Dehumanization Of Grenouille In Perfume

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In Perfume by Patrick Süskind, the protagonist Grenouille lives his life discriminated against for two uncontrollable aspects of him: his superior olfactory abilities and lack of bodily odor. Throughout the span of his life, Grenouille obsesses over refining his abilities and creating his master perfume until the little humanity he’d had withers away. He goes great lengths to misuse his powers for his own benefit, killing harmless animals and humans in his quest for greatness, along with controlling masses of people in his quest for power. Grenouille is dehumanized by his power of scent, misusing his abilities for his own gain and stripping others of what makes them human. Süskind utilizes the motif of scent as a parallel to how public leaders in today’s society abuse their power and how dehumanizing it can be. Because of Grenouille’s superior olfactory senses, he’s dehumanized from birth to death. Even shortly after birth, he’s already considered “possessed by the devil” (10) and that he was a “strange, cold creature … a hostile animal…” (17) by people who should care for a…show more content…
Before that, Grenouille once more considers himself divine amongst humans, shown with how “a nod of his head and [humans] would all renounce their God and worship him, Grenouille the Great” (240). With how little humanity remained in Grenouille, he only briefly enjoyed his triumph before reaching the epiphany of just how much he found humans deplorable. This outcome provides curious food for thought: would Grenouille have ended up so wicked without the aid of his extraordinary nose? His odorless body and invasive nose had always deterred others from him, and certainly caused others to avoid loving him. In the end, Grenouille lived all of his life never truly being loved because of the power he’d been gifted at
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