A Clockwork Orange

The Dilemma of Free Will in A Clockwork Orange

Following the publication of his most notable work, A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess commented on the function of literature in a mutable society. â There is not much point in writing a novel unless you can show the possibility of moral transformation, or an increase in wisdom, operating in your chief character.â? (Burgess viii) Consequently, this focus on the individual ethic becomes the most pervasive theme in A Clockwork Orange. The novel takes place in an Orwellian, antiutopian civilization where the Western world and Eastern Communist cultures have married. Alex, the main character, speaks in a combination of English and a Russian slang referred to as ânadsat.â? The government, however, is unmistakably suggestive of the Iron Curtain of Russian communism. The novel chronicles the atrocities committed by Alex and his âdroogsâ?, and the ensuing government supported brainwashing and alleged moral transformation of Alex. From the first page, the novel begs the question of free will. The title itself is significant in this context as A Clockwork Orange is a metaphor for one who has lost the power of free will, one who has the appearance of an organism (Orange) but is in reality only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God, the...

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