Freedom of Choice in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange Essay

841 Words 4 Pages
“Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.” In the novel, A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess, the protagonist, Alex is faced with many opportunities to make choices. Although the majority of Alex’s choices are bad, they are still choices. Alex’s freedom of choice is ripped from him when he becomes the subject of an experiment that forces him to make good choices, however, he is still the same bad person even through this control mechanism. It is only when he is presented with the freedom of choice again, that he becomes a good person, is truly cured.

Alex exerts his freedom of choice in all aspects of his life. From the time he wakes up in the morning, until he goes to bed at night.
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I’d done the lot, now.” He knows that he has done the worst thing he could do: murder. But Alex feels no remorse for what he did. He is found guilty and sentenced to fourteen years in prison.

Two years into his sentence, an opportunity arises for Alex to regain his freedom. Or so he thinks. The technique is one that “gets you of prison in no time at all and makes sure that you never get back in again.” This technique does not offer true freedom. It does quite the opposite. It takes away its subjects freedom of choice. It forces them to choose goodness over badness no matter what. It renders them powerless.

The prison chaplain or “the charlie” warns Alex not to go through the experiment. He says, “The question is whether such a technique can really make a man good. Goodness comes from within…” He wants Alex to make the choice to be become a good person on his own. He says, “Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?”

All Alex can see is the short term. Freedom. The idea of being free again is all that matters to him. Its so close he can taste it. Either because of naïveté or ignorance, he shrugs off what the charlie says. In fact, he thinks everyone else is naïve in thinking that this technique could make him good. Inside he laughs, he has a “real horrorshow smeck at

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