A Clockwork Orange

This essay has a total of 1557 words and 6 pages.

A Clockwork Orange


Moral freedom is one of the most if not the most important of any freedoms available to
humans. Moral freedom is the ability to either choose to perform good or bad deeds or
both. Totalitarian governments take away one’s individual choice and thus, suppress and
suffocate the soul. The setting in A Clockwork Orange is a general parallax to a
totalitarian and oppressive government. Alex, the main character, is the representative of
the common man, and his struggle in this type of government. In the novel, A Clockwork
Orange, Anthony Burgess suggests that the importance of moral freedom be stressed even for
criminals condemned by society.


“There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim….and we
sat in the Korova milk bar making up our rassadooks what do with the evening”(1.1; ch. 1),
this was a typical night of a “nadsat” or teenager. A bunch of hoodlums, going around
committing acts of violence and crime, for they have moral freedom; which they choose to
do bad. First they assault a young man in an alley, and then they go to this author’s
house, and vandalize it and rape his wife. But while at this house, they come across a
book called A Clockwork Orange, and Alex reads about it: “The attempt to impose upon man,
a creature of growth and capable of sweetness, to ooze juicily at the last round the
bearded lips of God, to attempt to impose, I say, laws and conditions appropriate to a
mechanical creation”(1.21; ch. 2), at which he ironically laughs and tears up.


After an eventful night like that, Alex goes home, “Where I lived was with my dadda and
mum in the flats of Municipal Flatblock 18A, between Kingsley Avenue and Wilsonway”(1.31;
ch. 3). There he goes to his room, and turns on his stereo and his good side comes alive.
His deep love for classical music like Mozart, Beethoven, and G.F. Handel, can be seen
clearly. In the morning he decides not to go to school, and he ends up violently raping
two “devotchkas”, again displaying his moral freedom to be bad. That same night, they try
to rob an old “psitsa” that has a hundred cats living with her. Alex ends up killing the
old lady, but he gets caught by the “millicents” and will be tried as an adult.


While in court, Alex promotes his innocence and blames his companions. “Where are the
others? Where are my stinking traitorous droogs? One of my cursed grazhny bratties chained
me on the glazzies. Get them before they get away. It was their idea, brothers. They like
forced me to do it”(1.65; ch. 6). His pleas are futile as he gets sent away to the Staja,
also known as a penitentiary. From that point on, Alex feels oppressed by the small cells
full of older criminals. Although these brutal situations fit Alex, he realizes that only
repentance and good behavior in the eyes of the officials can release him from the jaws of
justice. So in order to be viewed as a reforming criminal Alex turns to religion. He plays
the music during religious ceremonies and becomes good friends with the prison chaplain.
However Alex’s intent on reforming was not a religious aspect but the quickest so he can
get revenge on thee traitorous droogs and return to his thug life. He hears about a new
technique, “the Ludovico Technique,” will get him out quickly. He talks to the chaplain,
but the latter casts shadows about it by retorting: “I must confess I share those doubts.
The question is whether such a technique can really make a man good. Goodness comes from
within 6655321. Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a
man” (2.83; ch. 1). This does not deter Alex from the thought of an early release but only
makes his desire for it greater. He is picked to be the first test suject of the new
Ludovico technique. With the augmentation in population comes an increase in crime too,
which brings new techniques to “cure” or “fix” the criminal mind. The minister says: “The
government cannot be concerned any longer with outmoded penalogical theories. Cram
criminals together and see what happens. You get concentrated criminality, crime in the
midst of punishment…Kill the criminal reflex, that’s all”(2.92; ch. 2). Alex thinks it’s
an ideal solution, to become good and free at the same time and get out quickly, nothing
wrong with that at all. But he does not realize that his eagerness is blinding him from
the oppression and he is being robbed of his moral freedom.


The prison chaplain again tries to warn him: “Very hard ethical questions are involved…you
are to be made into a good boy, 6655321. Never again will you have the desire to commit
acts of violence or to offend in any way whatsoever against thee State’s Peace. I hope you
take all that in. I hope you are absolutely clear in your own mind about that…Is a man who
chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed on him…In
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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