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Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange Essay

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Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange


Choice and free will are necessary to maintain humanity, both individually and communally; without them, man is no longer human but a “clockwork orange”, a mechanical toy, as demonstrated in Anthony Burgess’ novel, “A Clockwork Orange”. The choice between good and evil is a decision every man must make throughout his life in order to guide his actions and control his future. Forcing someone to be good is not as important as the act of someone choosing to be good. This element of choice, no matter what the outcome, displays man’s power as an individual.

“A Clockwork Orange” starts with Alex posing the question: “what’s it going to be then, eh?”. Burgess begins the story by demonstrating that Alex and his gang are free to do as they choose. Alex and his “droogs” are rebellious modern youth in an oppressive society. The “droogs” are tempted like all humanity by sin and try to show their hatred for the government with acts of extreme violence. The violent and rebellious behavior is a result of free will, but without the presence of evil, there would be nothing for humanity to choose. Throughout part one of the novel the droogs’ choices often result in violent actions harming innocent people. Examples of their “ultra-violence” are rampant: Alex and his droogs choose to rob and assault a man, Alex rapes young girls, and the droogs rob an old “ptitsa” who later dies from Alex’s assault. As Burgess says : “evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate…Unfortunately there is so much original sin in us all that we find evil rather attractive”. God gave individuals free will, and they are responsible for their actions. The government has no right to interfere with human nature. A person can choose to be good or evil as Alex tries to demonstrate when he says: “ what I do I do because I like to do”. With this statement, Alex clearly demonstrates that he is responsible for his actions and he chooses to act out against society simply because he likes to, because he is attracted to sin. When Alex and his gang attack F. Alexander and his wife, we again witness horrible acts of violence that are ultimately the result of Alex’s choice. This appalling scene is another example of Alex using his free will and his temptation towards evil.

Evil is not only part of Alex’s life but the government’s as well. Th...


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...at it’s going to be, brothers”. Alex willfully chooses to change his ways; he decides to be productive, and chooses love over sin. He realizes that what he did in the past was wrong, as well as the immorality of his ways. It is through free moral choice that Alex arrives at this conclusion, not through a government technique forcing him to make the “right” decision. As part of the process of maturity, Alex would have likely selected this path naturally. However, the interference of the government and F.Alexander’s interference with Alex’s moral choice ultimately drove him to attempt suicide to escape the evil ways they chose for reform.

Moral choice can lead to violence, but without the risks, there would be nothing for humanity to choose. The government and F.Alexander’s faction control Alex’s free will to justify their own political agenda. They control his ability to choose without realizing that interfering with humanity’s ability to exercise free will is evil. Both the government and F.Alexander’s faction claim to be “the good guys” when they are the true faces of pure evil. One has to remember that evil is a master of disguise. It often hides behind the mask of the hero.


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