Clockwork Orange Essays Free Will

Essay Free Will in a Clockwork Orange

1535 WordsMay 2nd, 20057 Pages

"The Importance of Moral Choice"
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…show more content…

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. The evil of the government can be seen in part two of the novel when Alex's mind is controlled and forced to have no moral choice. The government controls Alex's free will by means of the Ludovico Technique, which makes Alex physically ill at the mere consideration of violent thoughts. When Alex is in the "staja" the Governor states that criminals "can best be dealt with on a purely curative basis. Kill the criminal reflex…". The Governor does not understand that criminal intent is not an unrestrained reaction, but the result of autonomy. The voice of reason in the prison is the prison Chaplin who questions the ethics of interfering with God's gift of moral choice, "goodness comes from within….goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man". Again through one of his characters, Burgess is stating that inhibiting a person's free will is more evil than a person's ability to choose evil over good. If one cannot choose, one ceases to be human and is exactly like a machine controlled by the government.
After Alex undergoes the Ludovico Technique, he stops asking "what's it going to be then, eh?" only to prove that Alex has lost his free will. Alex's question that

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Free Will In Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange

     Is it better to be a man choosing wrong than a man who is forced to choose right?
In the classic novel, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, a theme emerges. This is the theme of free will. Through the main character, Alex, Burgess is able to convey his ideas about free will and the oppressive nature of establishments such as governments and the media. Aside from these suggestions made by Burgess the question persists: When a man ceases to choose, is he still a man?

     Free will is one of the features that separates us as humans from animals and allows us to attain intelligent thought and reasoning. Of course, all of the features mentioned are unique to humans; the ability to exercise free will enables us to engage in all other aspects that are unique to human life. For example, if we were not given free will, then we could not choose to act upon our reasoning achieved through intelligent thought. We see this when a priest in the book makes the statement “when a man ceases to choose, he ceases to be a man” (Burgess 67). So the answer to the question at hand, according to Burgess, is yes. A man does lose his personhood when his free will is taken. In the novel, a totalitarian rehabilitation is forced upon the main character and he is unable to choose whether or not to participate in the violent behavior he once adored.

     “A human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil then he is a clockwork orange” (Burgess ix)....

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