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The Misuse of Power and the Extent of Free Will Within A Clockwork Orange and Nineteen Eighty-Four

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In both Nineteen Eighty-four and A Clockwork Orange, free will and the misuse of power are two intrinsically linked themes which are woven throughout and that govern everything that happens within both novels. The different reactions of different characters are an area that both George Orwell and Anthony Burgess focus on with interesting parallels between the two main protagonists, Alex and Winston.
Winston and Alex, although very different, react in quite a similar fashion to events surrounding their circumstances. Their control over their own free will and use of power is evident from their actions. Within nineteen eighty-four, the limit of free will associated with each character is clearly evident. A character is bound only by the decisions of the state and has little or no influence upon his or her actions. Although characters are able to exercise what remains of their free will, it can be argued that this in itself is not completely free will, as they are working around the control of the state, this also makes it extremely visible that the state uses the power at their disposal almost as a means of instilling fear and making sure that the “outer party” do what they are told. “Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing.” Winston’s decision to exercise what little free will he has shows the supreme control that the government has, but at the same time also shows that the ‘minority classes’ still have slight control over certain actions. This can be paralleled with Alex in CWO. In CWO, Alex has a far greater range to the amount of free will he can exercise. The streets are full of anarchy and there is no definitive state control to keep them in line; qui...


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... with one another and could be seen as a metaphor for describing the moulding of societies within each novel. When Burgess wrote CWO, he was in Brunei. The language spoken in Brunei is Malay, and the Malay word for ‘person’ is ‘orang’. It could thus be argued that Burgess’ main intention was to comment on society as a whole and refer solely to the people within it, in order to highlight the lack of free will, and the corruptness of governments throughout the world at the time of writing the novel.
It is clear from the outset that the misuse of power and the lack of free will are both integral themes interlinked within the novels. Both novels expand on these themes with forms of made up languages which serve to acerbically mock modern day society (as it once was) in an almost imperceptible manner; thus commenting and therefore shunning the status quo of the time.



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