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Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange Essay

1482 words - 6 pages

Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange

Choice and free will are necessary to maintain humanity, both individually and communally; without them, man is no longer human but a “clockwork orange”, a mechanical toy, as demonstrated in Anthony Burgess’ novel, “A Clockwork Orange”. The choice between good and evil is a decision every man must make throughout his life in order to guide his actions and control his future. Forcing someone to be good is not as important as the act of someone choosing to be good. This element of choice, no matter what the outcome, displays man’s power as an individual.

“A Clockwork Orange” starts with Alex posing the question: “what’s it going to be then, eh?”. Burgess begins the story by demonstrating that Alex and his gang are free to do as they choose. Alex and his “droogs” are rebellious modern youth in an oppressive society. The “droogs” are tempted like all humanity by sin and try to show their hatred for the government with acts of extreme violence. The violent and rebellious behavior is a result of free will, but without the presence of evil, there would be nothing for humanity to choose. Throughout part one of the novel the droogs’ choices often result in violent actions harming innocent people. Examples of their “ultra-violence” are rampant: Alex and his droogs choose to rob and assault a man, Alex rapes young girls, and the droogs rob an old “ptitsa” who later dies from Alex’s assault. As Burgess says : “evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate…Unfortunately there is so much original sin in us all that we find evil rather attractive”. God gave individuals free will, and they are responsible for their actions. The government has no right to interfere with human nature. A person can choose to be good or evil as Alex tries to demonstrate when he says: “ what I do I do because I like to do”. With this statement, Alex clearly demonstrates that he is responsible for his actions and he chooses to act out against society simply because he likes to, because he is attracted to sin. When Alex and his gang attack F. Alexander and his wife, we again witness horrible acts of violence that are ultimately the result of Alex’s choice. This appalling scene is another example of Alex using his free will and his temptation towards evil.

Evil is not only part of Alex’s life but the government’s as well. The evil of the government can be seen in part two of the novel when Alex’s mind is controlled and forced to have no moral choice. The government controls Alex’s free will by means of the Ludovico Technique, which makes Alex physically ill at the mere consideration of violent thoughts. When Alex is in the “staja” the Governor states that criminals “can best be dealt with on a purely curative basis. Kill the criminal reflex…”. The Governor does not understand that criminal intent is not an unrestrained reaction, but the result of autonomy. The voice of reason in the prison is the prison Chaplin...

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