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A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

by Anthony Burgess

Morality and Ethics Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Very hard ethical questions are involved," he went on. "You are to be made into a good boy, 6655321. Never again will you have the desire to commit acts of violence or to offend in any way whatsoever against the State's Peace. I hope you take all that in. I hope you are absolutely clear in your own mind about that." (2.3.11)

The prison chaplain cautions Alex that by enrolling in the treatment program, his desire to do evil will be abolished altogether. Indeed, he will be forced to do good and to not offend. He will no longer have a moral choice. Does he really want this? The chaplain acknowledges how hard an ethical question this is.

Quote #2

"It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some ways better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions…" (2.3.13)

The prison chaplain suggests to Alex that he might not enjoy being forced to be "good." That is to say, he might get more enjoyment out of having a moral choice. Then the chaplain zooms out and ponders what God intends for all of us. Does He want us only to do good? Or has He intended that we choose as we please and live with our decisions?

Quote #3

"But, sir, sirs, I see that it's wrong. It's wrong because it's against like society, it's wrong because every veck on earth has the right to live and be happy without being beaten and tolchocked and knifed. I've learned a lot, oh really I have." (2.6.22-23)

Alex pretends to have access to a moral system in order to avoid not being able to enjoy classical music ever again. This suggests to us that Alex has really possessed systems of morality and ethics from the get-go.

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