The arrogance and the (failed ) reaction

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I decided to deal with the two novels of Promessi Sposi and Una Donna, but from a different


Knowing that violence exists, and unfortunately not in a single expression, rather it manifests itself

in different forms, I decided to discuss its most subtle form, that of psychological violence,

analyzing the effects that it hasproduced onto two main characters, two women from different eras.

These women are affected by a problem that is a common denominator between the two works: the

first contact with the harsh reality that surrounds us, and the consequent response to abuse.-

Their different reactions show that the will of listening to their hearts’ desires, and the knowledge of

how to listen to themselves isdecisive in the choice between submission and the affirmation of

one's being.

The element of contact between the two operas is then the story of two women, both subjected to

bullying and arrogance, violence, dare I say¸ psychological but also physical.

The difference between the story of the Monaca di Monza and Una Donna, lies in the reaction that

the two female protagonists showwith regard to their personal affairs.

The first, locked in a convent against her desire, soon betrays the religious order she has just joined,

becoming one of the wicked characters of the novel and even being accomplice to a murder with

her lover.

The second one, on the other hand, finds the strength to react: even if forced to make a choice

between her freedom and the traditionallife prospective of a woman as a wife and above all a

mother, the protagonist decides to assert herself in an act of freedom that will allow her to cry to the

whole world that, like everyone, even the woman has an inwardness and desires.

The story of the Monaca di Monza has always been rightly praised as one of the most beautiful

parts of IPromessi Sposi, for being a history of subtle penetrating, ruthlessly and revealing


With the character of Gertrude, Manzoni gave us not only the drama of consciousness and sin, but

also the tormented poetry of a troubled adolescence, suspended between paternal constraints, naive

and fantastic impetus of faith, bitter reminders of the senses and earthly pleasures, allconfused and

rushing into the dreamy aspirations of those who look with dismay and anxiety to their future.

Gertrude's innocence becomes a perversity, since Gertrude's father, the Principe Padre, sacrifices

and leads her to destruction that he can not impose openly, because he does not violate any laws,

but acts by indirect means, and the young girl remains influenced by him, and then, in asense, is

forced to accept his will.

Those imposed, indirectly, by the father are rules that are a tradition, and she must accept, or at least

does not have the strength to reject them. But soon, she will break the rules imposed on her,

beginning the process of corruption that so accurately Manzoni describes.

Gertrude is a victim of her relatives, her father's caste prejudices, ofthe selfishness and feudal law

of his brother, and of her mother's insensitivity. In the monastery, she is the object that brings

prestige and fame [1]

The interpretation that Alberto Moravia gave fascinated me most: it seems to him to be a story of a

“lunga e tortuosa corruzione”[2] , namely the transformation of an innocent character into a wicked


The gradualtransformation of the innocent child first into a desperate liar, then into a faithless,

adulterous nun and then finally into a criminal, is one of the most powerful pieces that has been

written on the subject of corruption, and her corruption is mysterious, dark, and originates from an

ambiguous historical and social fate: not to be the first-born in her aristocratic family.

Her story shows how...
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