Patrick Süskind

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Jean-Baptise Grenouille

The protagonist of the novel. Grenouille possesses an absurdly keen sense of smell, no smell of his own, and an intense hatred of humanity, which combined leads him on a journey to create the perfect… (read full character analysis)

Giuseppe Baldini

The perfumer who takes Grenouille on as an apprentice; Chénier's employer. Baldini is very concerned with upholding and maintaining order, both in the larger world and in the smaller world of creating perfumes in… (read full character analysis)

Marquis de la Taillade- Espinasse

A marquis who retired from court life at Versailles to pursue scientific discovery. His pet project is the idea of fluidum vitale, or the idea that the earth contains poisonous gases that can do damage… (read full character analysis)

Laure Richis

The young daughter of Antoine Richis and Grenouille's final target. She's very beautiful, with red hair and pale skin, and Grenouille finds her scent to be even more intoxicating than that of the girl(read full character analysis)

Monsieur Grimal

The tanner whom Madame Gaillard sells Grenouille to as cheap labor. Grimal treats Grenouille little better than a domestic animal, valued only for how much work he's capable of completing. Grenouille remains in his service… (read full character analysis)
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Madame Gaillard

The woman who cares for Grenouille after he was rejected by Jeanne Bussie. She runs a home for orphan children. Madame Gaillard's father hit her in the face as a child, and as such… (read full character analysis)

Dominique Druot

Madame Arnulfi's first journeyman and eventually second husband, Grenouille's supervisor. He thinks highly of himself and as such Grenouille allows him to think that he's a superior perfumer to Grenouille. He stinks often… (read full character analysis)

Father Terrier

The monk who handles Grenouille's return to the local cloister by Jeanne Bussie. He despises technical details and difficulties and is in charge of administering the cloister's charities. He's of the belief that… (read full character analysis)

Antoine Richis

The father of Laure Richis. He is a high-ranking official in Grasse and a learned, modern man. He catches on to the impetus behind Grenouille's serial murders of the girls in Grasse and… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Girl from the rue de Marais
The victim of Grenouille's first murder. She is a young teenager, very beautiful, and has a scent that Grenouille finds superior to all others.
Madame Arnulfi
Grenouille's final employer; Druot's lover. A widow who runs a perfumer's workshop in Grasse, she's described as relatively prosperous and possessing sound business sense. Even after she marries Druot, she retains her first husband's last name and control of her business and its finances.
Jeanne Bussie
Grenouille's final wet nurse who is paid by the local parish to care for him. After a few weeks of nursing him she returns him to Father Terrier, insisting that since Grenouille has no scent, he's possessed by the devil.
Grenouille's Mother
A Parisian fishmonger. Grenouille is her fifth baby and the only one to live more than a few minutes. She is described as young, pretty, and relatively healthy. When she faints following Grenouille's birth and Grenouille is discovered, she's tried, found guilty of multiple infanticide, and is decapitated.
Baldini's shop assistant. While not a young man, Chénier is young enough to entertain hopes of inheriting Baldini's perfume business following Baldini's death.
Doctor Procope
The very expensive doctor whom Baldini calls when Grenouille falls ill.
Baldini's rival, a young perfumer who is immensely talented and innovative. Many of his clients and customers came from Baldini in favor of Pélissier's more modern scents. He's only ever mentioned by name and never appears in person.
Gabriel Tagliasco
Captain of the Guard in Grasse.
Monsieur Papon
The executioner of Grasse.
La Fosse
The police officer who turns the infant Grenouille over to the cloister of Saint-Merri.
A perfumer in Montpellier. Grenouille uses his shop to create his first human-scent perfume.