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Free Will In Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange

562 words - 2 pages

     Is it better to be a man choosing wrong than a man who is forced to choose right?
In the classic novel, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, a theme emerges. This is the theme of free will. Through the main character, Alex, Burgess is able to convey his ideas about free will and the oppressive nature of establishments such as governments and the media. Aside from these suggestions made by Burgess the question persists: When a man ceases to choose, is he still a man?

     Free will is one of the features that separates us as humans from animals and allows us to attain intelligent thought and reasoning. Of course, all of the features mentioned are unique to humans; the ability to exercise free will enables us to engage in all other aspects that are unique to human life. For example, if we were not given free will, then we could not choose to act upon our reasoning achieved through intelligent thought. We see this when a priest in the book makes the statement “when a man ceases to choose, he ceases to be a man” (Burgess 67). So the answer to the question at hand, according to Burgess, is yes. A man does lose his personhood when his free will is taken. In the novel, a totalitarian rehabilitation is forced upon the main character and he is unable to choose whether or not to participate in the violent behavior he once adored.

     “A human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil then he is a clockwork orange” (Burgess ix)....

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