The seminar will examine the notion of evil as shaped and modelled by the Criminal Law. In order to perform its social/moral function, and to be communicated to citizens and adjudicators, the prohibition of evil has to be elaborated, framed and drafted; the outcome of this complex process is the definition of the offense. Definitions of Criminal offenses differ significantly from other legal definitions, present in the various branches of the law. The peculiarity of Criminal Law is that it prohibits evil by describing images, icons of wrongdoing. Evil its expressed by a visual semiotic which works by representing the figurative development of the illecit conduct. The Criminal Law essentially narrates wrongdoing before prohibiting it. Evil is elaborated, shaped and represented iconographically, as in the story-board of a play, of a short "drama". The scenography of burglary narrates, for example, the "drama" of "someone who's breaking and entering the house of another in the night time, with intent to commit a felony therein....". Visual rendering of wrongdoing is essential.
The seminar will explore the fundamental iconographic characteristic of Criminal offences, tracing its historical roots, its variations in respect to Common Law and Civil Law systems, its traditional functions in respect to communications to citizens and adjudicators. Finally the analysis will focus on the most recent trends in Criminal Law, eventually identifying new patterns of liability and their link to different ways of conceiving and shaping the forms of evil.