The Paradox Of A Clockwork Orange

2028 words - 8 pages

 
     The grace of evil in A Clockwork Orange is a recurring paradox throughout the novel and also implies a deep religious connotation. The main foci are the several aspects of evil, violence, and sexual acts committed by Alex and his gang members. However, Anthony Burgess has cleverly incorporated similar paradoxes to that of grace and evil, along with a different dialect to aid in masking the true harshness that lies underneath the violence. The other paradoxes include the extremes of night and day, good and bad, and black and white.

The depiction of evil as being graceful is relevant to the actual title, but also reflects the actions, dialect, and events in the main character Alex's life. Appearance can be deceiving because Alex seems quite graceful, intelligent and well spoken. However, evil thoughts lurk within, which drive him, as a leader of his gang, to commit murders and rapes. As he and his fellow "droogs" speak in a sophisticated Shakespearean-type of language, they describe their evil acts with elegance. As violent and aggressive Alex is perceived to be, he enjoys listening to classical music, especially Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. However, while engulfed in eloquent, graceful, and peaceful music, his mind ponders evil, violent, and sexual fantasies. By the end of the novel, Alex is no longer able to listen to the Ninth Symphony due to the conditioning that was performed on him. He no longer has the freedom to choose and act of his own will. This theme also relates to the grace of evil because even though conditioning someone to be a moral person may seem like a good deed, it is in reality immoral. It is in essence taking away a person's freedom of choice. Religiously, Grace is a gift from God. Even those that are not deserving of forgiveness, no matter what evil acts or crimes may have been committed, are blessed with grace and love. When this is applied to one's life, hope can be found. Burgess wanted to emphasize that no matter how bad a person Alex may have been, he deserved God's Grace and forgiveness. Therefore, freedom of choice is more important, no matter what evil acts people choose to carry out.

 

There are a plethora of instances throughout the novel where violent acts are committed, yet described and portrayed gracefully. As the novel opens, Alex and his "droogs" are preparing themselves for a night of fighting. In just one night, they manage to rob, rape, and assault several others. However, the major crime of the night was the rape of the writer F. Alexander's wife, who later dies due to the injuries inflicted upon her. The crimes of that night and every night to follow are both artistically committed on Alex's part and masked with the use of "Nadsat" which is the dialect based on Slavic and Russian.

During fight scenes it is apparent that Alex enjoys the pain he inflicts upon others. Because fighting is a frequent occurrence, he tries to make each one more pleasurable, interesting, and...

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