Published: 01-11-2019

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Freewill vs. morality in a Clockwork Orange

Following the publication of his most notable perform, A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess commented on the function of literature in a mutable society. There is not significantly point in writing a novel unless you can show the possibility of moral transformation, or an enhance in wisdom, operating in your chief character. (Burgess viii) Consequently, this concentrate on the person ethic becomes the most pervasive theme in A Clockwork Orange. The novel requires spot in an Orwellian, antiutopian civilization exactly where the Western world and Eastern Communist cultures have married. Alex, the principal character, speaks in a mixture of English and a Russian slang referred to as nadsat The government, nevertheless, is unmistakably suggestive of the Iron Curtain of Russian communism. The novel chronicles the atrocities committed by Alex and his droogs and the ensuing government supported brainwashing and alleged moral transformation of Alex. From the initial web page, the novel begs the query of free of charge will. The title itself is important in this context as A Clockwork Orange is a metaphor for one particular who has lost the energy of free of charge will, one particular who has the appearance of an organism (Orange) but is in reality only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God, the Devil, or the almighty state. The relevance of the title is evident in the existentialist dilemma which is the essence of the novel Does God want goodness or the decision of goodness? (Morris 44)

The initial chapter of the novel paints a really grim image of Alex he is unquestionably evil. Not only does Alex commit violent acts, but he finds a sadistic pleasure in it, And, my brothers, it was genuine satisfaction to me to waltz and carve left cheeky and appropriate cheeky, so that like two curtains of blood seemed to pour out at the very same time, one on either side of his fat oily snout. (Burgess 17) This passage shows Alexs comprehensive disregard for humanity and the law. The usage of the word waltz also illustrates a seemingly incongruous character trait of Alex, his enjoy of music, classical music in distinct. This irony is additional evident in a scene where Alex gives two pre-adolescent ptitsas the old in-out in-out to the tune of Beethovens 9th, Then I pulled out the beautiful 9th and set the needle hissing on the final movement…this time they thought nothing at all exciting and had to submit to the strange and weird desires of Alexander the Large. (Burgess 46) This poses the paradox of how a savage and vicious teen can appreciate the cultured refinement of European classical music. However, Alex views classical music and violence not as incongruous, but complementary. As seen in his aforementioned waltz, violence, in the eyes of Alex, is a form of inventive self expression, The sweetest and most heavenly of activities partake in some measure of violence. (Burgess 115) Alex operates on the hedonistic principle of self-indulgence. He satiates his desires whether or not they be violent urges or passions for classical music. However, the important characteristic of Alex is that he is cost-free to select. Albeit he chooses evil, the ability to pick is the core of his existence.

Alexs evils are undeniable, but Burgess also presents the less evident evils perpetrated by a repressive government. The government in A Clockwork Orange controls all elements of society from the government produced Tv station Statefilm to the government issue housing in which Alex resides. Furthermore, Christianity has been outlawed as God has been reduced to an Old Bog. This is the government manage over person freedom that Burgess despised. He believes that the government, in attempting to manipulate free considering, is guilty of a moral evil greater than those committed by Alex due to the fact it violates the essence of man, free of charge will. Burgess attacks what he considers the fundamental flaw of socialism, the belief that man is in a position to be conditioned. (Kennard 66) This sentiment is best expressed in the character F. Alexander, who is a member of an anti-government faction, To try to impose upon man, a creature of development and capable of sweetness, laws and conditions acceptable to a mechanical creation, against this I raise my sword-pen. (Burgess 22) Even though Burgess attacks the policies of the state, he does not contend they are solely accountable for the actions of Alex. Burgess believes in free of charge will, but he also believes in the all-natural consequences of actions.

In Element two of the novel, the consequences of Alexs streak of ultra violence come to fruition when he is arrested soon after murdering a woman in the course of an attempted robbery. Alex is attempted and sentenced to 14 years in the Staja (state jail). The government no longer recognizes Alex as a person, he is referred to only as 66555321, his prison quantity. The only one who nevertheless recognizes Alexs possibility for redemption is the far from admirable prison chaplain. He is nicely intentioned and opposes many of the government policies but is as well considerably of drunkard to say what he knows to be proper and moral. Despite his frailties, he is in a position to convince Alex to read the Bible and even take responsibility for his actions.

So I study all about the scourging and the crowning with thorns and I viddied greater that there was something in it. I closed my glazzies and viddied myself assisting in the tolchocking and the nailing in, becoming dressed in a like toga that was the height of Roman style. (Burgess 79)

Clearly, Alex recognizes the sins he has committed and the hurt he has triggered. The reference to the nailing on the cross presents the Christian belief that Jesus died for the sins of all humanity and that humans, by nature, are imperfect. However, in this sin and imperfection, there is also the possibility of redemption, and Alex begins to realize this prospective. In addition, the use of Christian imagery illustrates the Augustinian view of humanity endorsed by the state. Classic Augustinianism maintains that humans are inherently evil and can only be saved by Divine Grace. The crucifixion of the son of God by man supports this theory of a tendency toward evil. Nonetheless, the state in A Clockwork Orange has distorted standard Augustinian theory into a rationale for getting a totalitarian government that workouts absolute authority over humans. (Aggeler 110) Burgess clearly opposes this political theory popularized by Thomas Hobbes.

Alex continues to be a model prisoner and shows signs of improvement until he wakes up a single night to locate one particular of his cell mates staring at him and stroke stroke stroking away. Alex and the other cellmates finish up beating this chelloveck to death, and Alex is held responsible. Consequently, Alex becomes the guinea pig for the recently created Ludovicos Strategy.

Alex is transferred to a new facility where the technique will be administered by Dr. Brodsky. Alex is offered an injection that induces severe nausea and is then forced to watch movies of rapes, murders and other violent acts. Dr. Brodskys favorites incorporate films of Nazi concentration camps and Japanese strategies of torture during W.W.II. The theory behind the technique is association. Alex will associate feeling severely ill with any act of violence. As a result, he will no longer need to commit violent acts. The prison chaplain ideal summarizes the theory of the method, In a sense, in deciding on to be deprived of the ability to make an ethical choice, you have truly chosen the good. (Burgess 95)

The moral implications surrounding Ludovicos method are the heart of the thematic element in A Clockwork Orange. Ludovicos Technique has deprived Alex of free of charge will. If free will, that of which Alex has been deprived, is the essence of humanity, then what has Alex turn into? He has turn into a point, a Clockwork Orange, a small machine capable only of great. The state has deprived Alex not only of cost-free will, but also of his humanity. As F. Alexander states it, A man who can't pick ceases to be a man. (Burgess 156)

Alex is no longer a wrong doer, yet he is no longer capable of decision. This presents the moral dilemma which defines the theme of the operate, Is a man who chooses the poor maybe in some way greater than a man who has the very good imposed upon him? (Burgess 95) The states response to this question is a definitive no. Dr. Brodsky typifies the sentiment of the state, We are not concerned with motive, with the larger ethics. We are only concerned with cutting down crime. (Burgess 126) This is the utilitarian standpoint against which Burgess militates. The utilitarian argument contends that any technique is justifiable if its result is in the ideal interest of humanity. It is the age old question of, Do the ends justify the signifies? Is the dehumanization of Alex justifiable due to the fact he will no longer be a threat to society? Burgess response to this query is an emphatic no. He contends that, If we are going to really like mankind, we will have to really like Alex as a not unrepresentative member of it. (Aggeler 129)

The revocation of free of charge will can in no way be in the greatest interest of humanity since it is inherently antihuman. Furthermore, the dehumanizing of a single individual sets in motion the conditioning of an whole race. For Burgess, the focal point of human existence is choice. Option, decision is all that matters, and to impose the great is evil, to act evil is much better than to have excellent imposed. (Kennard 67) This illustrates his view that the evil of the elimination of cost-free will is higher than any evil perpetrated by Alex. This viewpoint is, in element, a response to the writings of B.F. Skinner who espoused human conditioning methods to create an utopian society.

The notion of decision is also crucial to the discussion of the dual nature of excellent and evil in the novel. The government in A Clockwork Orange does not view evil as a portion of human nature. They view it as a disease to be eradicated by scientific implies. This denial of the nature of evil is a denial of ones self. Alex states it very best, Badness is of the self, and that self is made by old Bog or God in his fantastic pride and radosty. They of the government cannot enable the undesirable due to the fact they cannot let the self. (Burgess 40) This passage once again illustrates the perniciousness of the Communist denial of individualism. In addition, it recognizes the idea of original sin. God designed us, and component of our human nature is a tendency toward evil. But, we are not completely evil or entirely great. Goodness, like badness is also of the self, and man is both excellent and evil in and of himself. (Tilton 38) This is the duality which is a pervading theme in A Clockwork Orange. Just as good and evil are dual components of man, a passion for violence and classical music are dual components of Alex. This duality is destroyed when Alex is conditioned. He loses each his capability for violence and ability to listen to classical music (it was played in the background of the films throughout his conditioning the sound of it tends to make Alex sick). When Alex is created a machine, he loses all elements of his humanity and duality. The result of the conditioning method is the destruction of the clockwork altogether. The elimination of his capacity for evil necessarily entails the elimination of his capacity for good. (Tilton 39)

Some critics have deemed A Clockwork Orange unconvincing, inconclusive, or even a sensationalistic endorsement of violence. In my estimation, A Clockwork Orange is a perform with profound implications. It depicts the freedoms we often take for granted and reveals the terrifying implications of their revocation. To some, it may look to be a far fetched work set in a fantastical society. But, if it is nothing at all else, it is a warning, a warning against complacency, sloppy thinking, and most importantly, against overmuch trust in the state. (Aggeler 129)
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