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freeclo Violence and Free Will in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange Essay

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Violence as an Expression of Free Will in A Clockwork Orange

 
      This essay will deal with the subject of free choice, which is the main topic of the novel, A Clockwork Orange . This significant problem is already indicated in the very first line of the text when an unknown voice asks Alex - and certainly by that the reader - "What' s it going to be then, eh'?" (13). Being repeated at the beginning of the second part and at the beginning of the very last chapter of the third part this question sets up the thematic frame of the book. It asks the protagonist what he is going to chose, good or evil. Likewise it addresses to the reader to consider his own choice, too (14).

 

Anthony Burgess is intensely committed to this problem in "A Clockwork Orange". In his own words the book "was intended to be a sort of tract, even a sermon on the importance of the power of choice." (15)

 

So he wrote the story of Alex, an anti-hero being robbed of his capacity for free choice and condemned to be mild, if he wants it or not. But from now on his moral beliefs are not really altered. Alex has not recognized his failures, he is only unable to commit any crime although he would like to. Furthermore he is an ambiguous character.

On the one hand Alex is a sadistic criminal, guilty of murder and rape and fascinated by acts of senseless destruction. At the same time he is a quite intelligent and smart boy, deeply interested in music and language. His adoration for classical music and his elaborate use of the "Nadsat" dialect render him likeable to the reader.

It lies in the intention of Burgess to make him sympathetic, for we have to feel pity when Alex is abused in the last two parts of the novel. Thus the author fo...


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..., (1965), S. 171-177

10. Hahn, Ronald M. und Volker Jansen. Uhrwerk Orange, in: Hahn, Ronald M. und Volker Jansen. Kultfilme: Von "Metropolis" bis "Rocky Horror Picture Show". 4. Auflage. München: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1990, (1985), S. 293-303

11. Kagan, Norrnan. A Clockwork Orange, in: Kagan, Norman. The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick. New Expanded Edition. New York: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1989, ( 1972), S.167-187

12. Melchior, Claus. Zeittafel zu Leben und Werk von Anthony Burgess, in: Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. 1. Auflage. Stuttgart: Phillip Reclam jun., 1992, S. 247-249

13. Melchior ,Claus. Nachwort, in: Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. 1. Auflage. Stuttgart: Phillip Reclam jun., 1992, S. 251-260

14. Rabinovitz, Rubin: Ethical Values in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, in: Studies in the Novel, 11 (1979) S. 43-50


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