Study Guide

A Clockwork Orange Good vs. Evil

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Good vs. Evil

Part 1, Chapter 4

But, brothers, this biting of their toe-nails over what is the cause of badness is what turns 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 like it, and I wouldn't ever interfere with their pleasures, and so of the other shop. And I was patronizing the other shop. More, badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not-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. And is not our modern history, my brothers, the story of brave malenky selves fighting these big machines? I am serious with you, brothers, over this. But what I do I do because I like to do. (1.4.21)

To Alex, just as goodness can be natural or inherent to some people, so can badness. People can be born good or bad – either way it is natural. To come up with a causal explanation for certain characteristics is nonsensical, at least to Alex.

Part 2, Chapter 3
Prison Chaplain

"You are passing now to a region where you will be beyond the reach of the power of prayer. A terrible terrible thing to consider. And yet, in a sense, in choosing to be deprive of the ability to make an ethical choice, you have in a sense really chosen the good. So I shall like to think. So, God help us all…" (2.3.13)

The chaplain laments that Alex has reached a point where he can no longer make an ethical choice between good and evil. This makes him essentially non-human, and God can't possibly affect him any more.

"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." Are we supposed to be what we are supposed to be? That is the real question.

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