Good And Evil In A Clockwork Orange

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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is a dystopian novel that was published in 1962. It depicts a period of time where a reckless, disrespectful culture specific to younger people has emerged. Within the novel, Burgess brings to light one significant idea in particular. This concept is that free will, and a balance of good and evil are a fundamental part of human nature. Through various examples, A Clockwork Orange displays that, without these crucial factors a person loses their humanity, the removal of evil creates only an illusion of good, and that forcing the choice of good can be just as dangerous as allowing the choice of evil. The novel starts with the narrator Alex, and his three friends consuming stimulant laced milk while making…show more content…
In chapter four Alex questions the state’s idea of evil being a flaw stating, “...this biting of their toe-nails over what is the cause of badness, is what turns me into a fine laughing malchick. They don’t go into what is the cause of goodness, so why of the other shop”(Burgess 44). He believes that every human being possesses the potential for good and evil, and that this is what makes them inherently human. Then, early in the novel, an excerpt from a book by a man, F.Alexander is read, “-The attempt to impose upon man, a creature of growth and capable of attempt to impose, I say, laws and conditions appropriate to a mechanical creation…”(Burgess 24). This piece, and the idea of the clockwork orange itself are significant symbols within the novel. Just like a clockwork orange, which would appear just like any other orange if observed from the outside, Alex looks just like any other person after his treatment. He is however incapable of making the moral choice between good and evil, operating more like a program or machine than a human being. Therefore, as the clockwork orange would no longer be considered a fruit, but a toy, Alex is no longer human, but more of a mindless…show more content…
Before he is arrested and undergoes treatment, Alex is carefree and has no remorse for the pain his actions have caused others. Despite his actions in the later parts of the novel, this hasn’t truly changed. As the prison chaplain claims in chapter fourteen, “He has no real choice, has he? Self interest, fear of physical pain, drove him to that grotesque act of self abasement. Its insincerity was clear to be seen”(Burgess 141). Throughout the process, it is evident that Alex doesn’t truly lose his interest in violence, as he still tries to physically harm several people among the staff. His only reason for avoidance is self interest. He doesn’t want to experience the pain his body has associated with violent actions. In a way, he is about as good as someone donating to a charity to get their name in an article, his actions are completely hollow and selfish. However, near the end of the novel, Alex seemingly loses interest in his thuggish lifestyle and states, “Perhaps I was too old for this jeenzy [life] I was leading, brothers”(Burgess 210). He then proceeds to think about a future for himself that includes settling down and having a family. In this, Alex is showing genuine, natural growth as a person, completely unlike what he experiences due to Ludovico’s

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