Perfume: The Story of a Murderer


This study guide will help you analyze the novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind. You can also find a summary of the plot, full characterizations, as well as inspiration for interpreting the novel and putting it into perspective.

Presentation of the text

Title: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (1985)

Author: Patrick Süskind 

Genre: Novel

Patrick Süskind (b. 1949) is an author and screenwriter from Germany. He has written screenplays for several German television series, as well as several novellas. He is, however, best known, for his novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer which has been translated into 48 languages and made into a movie in 2006.

The postmodernist novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer presents the unconventional life of the ingenious perfume maker Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. The story covers the entire course of the main character’s life, from his birth in 1738 to his death in 1767.

Grenouille does not appear as a sympathetic or likable character. Nevertheless, his life fascinates the reader. His actions arouse curiosity and raise questions, some of which the reader might find hard to understand.


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In Patrick Süskind's novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, the main character Jean-Baptiste Grenouille takes on the role of the perpetrator. The subtitle "The Story of a Murderer" already points to him as the criminal.

In the novel, Grenouille becomes the murderer of a large number of innocent women. He kills most of them by striking them on the back of the head with a club, undresses them, and cuts off their hair. The figure of Grenouille is described as "abominable " (Part 1, 0%), a "murderer, [...] devil" (Part 3, 77%).

In the novel, the focus is on this murderer and not the...

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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

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