Addiction to Diabolical Acts In 'Clockwork Orange' 

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It is not possible to purify something that is naturally evil. In Anthony Burgess’s “A Clockwork Orange”, a young man by the name of Alex DeLarge, who is addicted to sex, drugs, violence, and Beethoven, spends his nights abusing drugs, berating random pedestrians, and raping women, along with his 3 other friends, known as “droogs”. After being betrayed by his droogs and being incarcerated, Alex is used as a guinea pig for a developing government authorized treatment, which supposedly can cure anyone from acting out upon violent and sexual tendencies. Upon a premature release from his sentencing, Alex is now faced with a new challenge: he is unable to fit into society.

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Alex DeLarge is a 15 year old boy living in a dystopian-style future England. He and his fellow droogs, Pete, Georgie, and Dim, spend the nights attacking and assaulting various people of the night, which Alex calls, “Ultra violence”. On one particular night, he and his droogs invade a secluded cottage in the countryside. They viciously beat a man, and rape his wife in front of him. On days, Alex cuts class and goes for visits on the town. During of these afternoons from school, he goes to a record shop and picks up two adolescent prepubescent girls, where he proceeds to drug and rape them. Tired of his authoritarian style of leading the gang, Pete, Dim, and Georgie attempt to retaliate by making new laws within the gang. Alex despises this idea, causing him to beat Georgie and slice Dim’s hand. Out of empathy, alex takes them to a bar, where they plan to rob a wealthy elderly woman. Once there, alex accidently beats the woman to death. Once exiting the house, dim strikes Alex across the face with a milk bottle in an act of revenge, while the three others abandon the scene. The police arrive and Alex is arrested.

After his arrest, Alex is convicted and sentenced to 14 years, due to the woman succumbing to her injuries. While in jail, he befriends the prison chaplain, who mistakes his interest in the bible for finding faith, while Alex is only interested in the passages containing violence. Two years into his sentence, Alex beats a fellow cellmate to death. Following this, he is chosen by a governmental figure to be used as a lab rat for a new type of aversion therapy, known as the “Ludovico Technique”. He is chosen due to his nature: someone who will act upon evil thoughts no matter what the consequence. He agrees to partake in the treatment, as his sentence will be pardoned. The technique involves Alex being injected with a nausea inducing liquid, being placed in a theatre, bound in a straight jacket, his eyes clamped open with wires, and forced against his will to watch films of intense graphic violence and rape. This conditions him to become sick at even the thought of violence or sex. To Alex’s dismay, the films contain a background score of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, which happens to be his favorite piece. After a demonstration of the effectiveness the technique causes, the government is overjoyed and Alex is released from prison.

Upon his release from prison, the story is being highly publicized and praised. Alex is kicked out by his parents, due to renting his room to a lodger. He wanders the streets, only to be beaten by a past victim of his ultra violence. Two police officers come to his aid, but turn out to be Dim, the former droog, and Billy Boy, a former leader of a rival gang. They beat him and leave him stranded in the woods, leaving Alex to wanders helplessly until finding a cottage to seek refuge. The cottage ends up being the same one from earlier in the novel. Alex is not recognized by the husband due to a mask he wore during the prior invasion. The husband, whose name is F. Alexander, and now in a wheelchair due to the beating, still lives there. His wife, however, is deceased due to complications from the rape. Alexander is a novelist who loathes the government. He decides to use Alex as a tool to dismantle the government’s popularity. After Alex accidently discloses that he was in fact the one that attacked him, he is drugged, only to wake up in the upper level of the cottage with a blaring sound of Beethoven’s 9th symphony through the floor. Alex, unable to listen any longer, attempts to commit suicide by jumping out of the window, though surviving. He awakens in the hospital where he is evaluated, revealing that his violent tendencies have returned. Government officials meet with Alex and offer him a high paying job if he publicly advocates for the government. After returning to the menacing lifestyle of his past, and with new droogs, Alex runs into Pete, who is married with children. After conversing with him, Alex realizes he is not happy with his current way of life. He decides he will strive for a better life, abandoning the Ultra-violence.

“A Clockwork Orange” delves into the mind of a teenage psychopath and the natural instinct he is guided with. His vigorous addiction to diabolical acts is what underlines his immediate human nature. Something as simple as free will or choice cannot be curbed in the name of modern technology. When Alex was supposedly “cured”, it created an entirely new obstacle in his life, which altered his option of free will. The title of the book even attempts to create a vague idea that you can’t take something as natural as an orange and infuse it with technology. Something with a naturally evil purpose can’t be suppressed through technology or methods of aversion.

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