Freedom and Beauty : The ‘Necessity’ of Evil in Dostoevskij


  • Luigi Bruno



Beauty, Salvation, Evil, Good, Freedom, Liturgy


Why is there a relationship and what kind of relationship is there between beauty and salvation? In other words: why does the world need to be saved? And by whom? Or from what? How is this combination of aesthet­ics and soteriology embodied in Dostoevsky’s works, in particular in the Idiot? These are the questions from which this reflection on the relationship between beauty and evil in Dostoevsky starts; but speaking of evil necessarily involves a discourse on freedom. Linking, anchoring the discourse on beauty to freedom means problematizing that concept in the light of existence, which concretely, as well as conceptually, is declined as a struggle between good and evil. In fact, this battle is the necessary consequence of man’s freedom, or rather of man’s awareness of his own freedom in man. This places Dostoevsky’s reflection on an eminently philosophical level. In this problematization of the concept (and reality) of beauty, anchored as it is to freedom, the question about evil and the consideration of its “necessity” are inserted, starting from its self-evidence precisely in the subject, which is what to say in the freedom, that is, in existence. How­ever, Dostoevsky goes beyond the historical-existential level and therefore sees and affirms a solution to the problematic nature of beauty, when it is considered precisely on that same level. By fixing the overcoming of evil, and therefore of nihilism and atheism, in the final ‘éskathon’, from which he looks at history, as Dante does, he announces that the beauty that will save the world is that founded on the Ideal, on the Unique who was able to resolve, destroying it in him­self, the conflict, the struggle between good and evil.



How to Cite

Bruno, Luigi. “Freedom and Beauty : The ‘Necessity’ of Evil in Dostoevskij”. Acta Philosophica 33, no. 1 (March 21, 2024): 103–122. Accessed July 14, 2024.