Individualism In Patrick Süskind's Perfume-Story Of A Murderer

1295 Words6 Pages
The novel, Perfume- Story of a Murderer, is set in eighteenth-century France. The eighteenth-century was a significant period in French and European histories alike, as it marks an important era of change known as the Enlightenment era. Also known as the “Age of Reason”, the Enlightenment saw, among other things, a rise in individualism across European societies. This notion is naturally apparent in Patrick Süskind’s novel and particularly in its main character, Grenouille. From with his birth to his trip to becoming a journeyman and pursuing his personal goal of becoming the best perfumer, Grenouille is the embodiment of many changes that are characteristic to Enlightenment individualism such as the introduction of inborn rights and increased social mobility. Despite this, Süskind seems to warn about the dangers of an increase in individualism through Grenouille’s embodiment of it. The novel, Perfume- Story of a Murderer, is presented by Süskind as an indictment of Enlightenment society, portrayed through the ever present intertwinement of love and death, to show that the widely prominent Enlightenment ideal of individualism produces an egocentric society when it combines with the instrumental reason inherent to human nature. Firstly, the fist association of love and death is initially apparent with Grenouille’s birth. With the beginning of the story, Grenouille’s mother seeks to effect Grenouille at a food market, as she had done before with four other infants. Standing
Open Document