The first part of the essay describes Manzoni’s remarks on language: in particular, his strong belief that there is an original link between word and truth and that word, from the most simple to the most refined, affects the reader. On the basis of these two tenets, the essay examines chapter IX and X of Promessi Sposi, emphasizing how the prince father exerts a coercion on his daughter, Gertrude, by means of a shrewd (fiendish shrewd) use of the power of words. This way, he succeeds in depriving Gertrude of her own language: even before executing her father’s will, indeed, the girl, inhibited in her own expression, literally repeats his words. The tragedy of the will, which many important critics found in these chapters, becomes, at least in its early stage, a tragedy of the lack of words.
Frare, P., L'inibizione della parola: il principe padre e Gertrude, in Paccagnini, E., Villa, A. I. (ed.), Studi di storia e critica della letteratura italiana dell'Ottocento e del Novecento in onore di Giuseppe Farinelli, La vita felice, Milano 2011: 620- 640 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/61061]