La funzione etica e catartica della rappresentazione della sofferenza in storia della colonna infame di manzoni
The aim of this contribution is to discuss the ethical function of suffering in Manzoni’s Storia della Colonna infame as a means for catharsis and as a persuasive rhetorical argument addressed to the reader. By representing both physical and moral suffering Manzoni states that evil corrupts not only the perpetrators but also the innocent. The author therefore critiques the wilful use of pain as a means to force others’ mind. Although Manzoni unfolds logical argumentation to argue his thesis, he finally accepts to justify the suffering of
the innocent as a sort of redemptive sacrifice within the frame of Providence. In the article Manzoni’s conception of suffering will be analysed also by referring to texts which investigate suffering from the standpoint of existential philosophy (Camus and Pareyson) and from that of literary anthropology (Girard).