Enrico was certainly one of the first men to disappoint Lidia Poet after their father. When Lidia’s parents never acknowledged the talents of their daughter and refused to look at her as anything other than a rebel who was not fulfilling her role as a woman, Enrico followed in their footsteps. After all, he never had any reason to think differently. Here was his sister, who was more interested in books than dolls, which was anomalous to every other girl that he knew. He may have never paid any heed to it had it not been for his father, who was so vehemently against his daughter getting an “unladylike” education. While it was not shown in the series “The Law According to Lidia Poet,” it is safe to assume that Lidia Poet and her father must have had plenty of loud fights regarding her desire to be a lawyer. It is not far-fetched to think that if and when Enrico must have heard these fights, he would have sided with his father. During the talk that children receive from their parents about their responsibilities in life, Enrico’s father must have talked to him about his future duty as a man and a “protector” and how he must treat the women in his life in a certain way. Enrico must have made the connection to Lidia, and it must have baffled him that she was so different.
The way sons and daughters are treated in a house is always different. It is enough if the boy is capable of earning a living and his every flaw and mediocrity gets coddled. Whereas the girl could be an outstanding individual, but if she says one word out of line, she is branded as someone who needs discipline. When things are going well, the people who keep them that way are your heroes, and you try your hardest to keep the status quo that way. Enrico, wanting to be a lawyer like his father, must have been the joy of his parents’ lives, and they undoubtedly told him that he could do nothing wrong as long as he took care of himself. We bet he never even had to try to earn the respect of anyone; he automatically got it because he was a man. Privilege softens people and narrows their viewpoint, which is why Enrico never even stopped to consider that the world he was living in was an unjust one. But Lidia Poet was different, and she keenly felt that injustice every single day. Her father never understood her, but even her mother failed to see why she could want something different from her life. Enrico wanting to practice law was a matter of pride, but Lidia wanting to do the same was a source of immense frustration.
Nevertheless, she persisted, but she had to make some drastic choices when an alliance for her marriage was fixed. Lidia knew that marriage would mean the end of everything she wanted from her life, and hence, she was left with no choice but to leave home. We are trying to imagine what Enrico’s reaction must have been to that. He was already against her studying or practicing law, but to leave her house for a job when she should have been seeking marriage must have been understood by him as another act of folly. Enrico never once looked at his sister as an intelligent individual, just like his parents did. Luckily, he was just a condescending man, not a cruel one, and when Lidia came back to the house after she was disbarred from practicing law, he opened the doors for her. It did not change the fact that Lidia still had to fight tooth and nail for him to acknowledge that she could be of use to him, and he only allowed her to “copy letters.” It is infuriating that he had control over her life, but at least he did not suffocate her with it. It is the bare minimum, but that is what one can expect from unremarkable characters.
Enrico was not without a conscience, and when he saw that Lidia was ready to give him credit for a case she had solved single-handedly, he came to recognize her intelligence. Enrico could do nothing about the fact that she was disbarred, but he had stopped standing in her way now that he saw that she was actually good at her job and that it was not simply a lifelong flight of fancy. However, it was only when Enrico discovered that their father wanted Lidia Poet to marry to settle his own debts that he realized the error of his ways. Generational patriarchy often wears the garb of noble tradition to hide its true nature, and when Lidia unveiled that for Enrico, it all started unraveling for him. He understood the hypocrisy of his father and that his sister had not been crazy after all but a victim. Knowing that and after becoming aware of his sister’s talent, he did what he could do best: he decided to help her with her appeal.
Of the two siblings, Lidia Poet undoubtedly had the sharper aptitude to be a lawyer. She was not just observant but brave enough to ask the tough questions and get to the bottom of the matter, something Enrico struggled with. In literally every case that was presented to him, his first reaction was to doubt the accused’s innocence. It was Lidia who was giving him the success he was enjoying with the cases she was solving. One would think he would be insecure, but to his credit, he tries to help her in whatever way he can. When she wanted to prove Margherita’s innocence, he advised her to detach herself from the case so that she could frame it in a way that wouldn’t ruffle the feathers of an all-male jury. It might sound like sexist advice, but we beg to differ. It is advice that acknowledges the prevalent sexism and suggests a practical way to deal with it, which is proof that Enrico is changing as a person.
Towards the end of “The Law According to Lidia Poet” Season 1, we see that Enrico is as excited about Lidia’s appeal as she is, and he is heartbroken for her upon its rejection. When she is leaving for America, he doesn’t stop her because he has understood that his sister is better off in a place that will acknowledge and respect her for who she is, as he has come to do. We call Enrico “basic,” but in a world where men’s atrocious behavior places them in the negative, “basic” allows us to breathe in relief. Men like him are proof that change is possible as long as you keep your eyes and ears open and allow your mind to be opened with a few rude shocks and jump kicks. It will not stop being an uphill battle for women for decades to come, but Enrico makes us believe that our love for the men in our lives is not hopeless after all.