Beethoven Music in the Clockwork Orange

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Kris Heller 8/1/05 Music History: Beethoven An Interpretation of Beethoven 's Music in the Film "A Clockwork Orange" "A Clockwork Orange" is the story of a young and disturbed man who, in order to avoid his prison sentence, subjects himself to a controversial new treatment to correct his unlawful behavior. Stanley Kubrick, the film 's creator, uses Beethoven 's music to penetrate the complexity of the main character 's actions and emotions. Beethoven 's music acts as his salvation, providing him with pleasure and relief from the violent lifestyle he created, but in the end it becomes the force that tears him apart. The main character, Alex, and his gang of four, Dim, George, and Pete, spend their nights drinking psychedelic milk…show more content…
The treatment conditioned Alex to become physically sick when hearing Beethoven 's music since it was present during the entire procedure. As the music continues to torture him, the symphony brings Alex to his lowest point nearing death as he jumps out of the window in an attempt to escape the music and his agony. As a criminal, Beethoven 's music provided him with sensation and fascination, but as "A Clockwork Orange," it is now his breaking force. A Clockwork orange refers to a mechanical piece of fruit. Alex is now unable to make his own decisions, he appears normal on the outside, but is really mechanical and machine-like inside. During the Ludovic treatment, Alex watches extremely violent films. During the first few days he has no problems watching the films, even somewhat enjoying them. As the days continue he realizes that the accompanying music is Beethoven 's ninth symphony, fourth movement. He tells the doctors that it is a crime to use Beethoven 's music for such hatred, but he is told it 's for his own good. The combination of the violence and the music deeply tortures and changes Alex. The doctors are directly ignoring the intent and greatness of the music. The symphony is a celebration of life yet the doctors have paired the music with videos of some of the most terrible events in history, with the peak of the piece accompanied by footage of Nazi 's. The music further elevates the tragedy and scale of these
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