The Importance of Free Will in A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

1431 Words6 Pages
“What’s it going to be then, eh?” is the signature question in Anthony Burgess’s novel, A Clockwork Novel that not only resonates with the moral identity of the anti-heroic protagonist, Alex, but also signifies the essential choice between free will that perpetrates evil and deterministic goodness that is forced and unreal. The prison chaplain and the writer F. Alexander voice the most controversial idea in the novel: man becomes ‘a clockwork orange’ when robbed of free will and tuned into a deterministic mechanism.
Burgess points out the necessity of free will to maintain humanity at both the communal and individual level. The novel represents a futuristic dystopian society through its anti-hero Alex and charts the protagonist’s
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However, youth like Alex cannot be caught in the expected rubric of life and hence, they retaliate. Nevertheless, one cannot justify Alex’s actions worth applauding but Burgess seems to favour their actions as the only possible outlet for suppressed angst. In the first act, fourth chapter, Alex says,
“…brothers, this biting of their toe-nails over what is the cause of badness are what turn me into a fine laughing malchick. They don’t go into the cause of goodness, so why the other shop? If lewdies are good that’s because they life it, and I wouldn’t ever interfere with their pleasures, and so of the other shop…self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the self.”
Here, Alex explains that goodness and badness in a human being is a natural trait and every human being needs free will to act according to their inborn trait. Nevertheless, such unbiased perception of free will becomes a problem when it is associated within the larger human society. Alex’s behaviour is a clear violation of the “harm principle” described by John Stuart Mill, which means that humans can engage in any action that does not harm anyone. Throughout the novel, Burgess also seems to suggest that the environment or the government regulated industrial city in which Alex
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