Study Guide

A Clockwork Orange Good vs. Evil

By Anthony Burgess

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Good vs. Evil

The battle between good and evil gets complicated in A Clockwork Orange, because the novel really presents the battle between forced good and chosen evil. Who is better: someone incapable of doing evil, only good, or someone with the freedom to choose whatever path she wants, but opts do evil? Is a "clockwork orange" more interesting than the likes of Alex? Or is evil Alex more human than the clockwork doer of good deeds?

We know this at least: Burgess sides with Alex.

Questions About Good vs. Evil

  1. What are your thoughts on the following quote, which the prison chaplain says to Alex? "The question is whether such a technique can really make a man good. Goodness comes from within...

    Chew on This

    The prison chaplain says that personal choice is required for a person to be deemed "good." Per this view, a religious person who does not thoughtfully choose her actions, but blindly follows the words of her religion's instructions to do only good deeds cannot be seen as a "good" person.

    Despite all the talk surrounding the good vs. evil debate in A Clockwork Orange, Burgess has included precious few instances of true, freely chosen goodness in the book.

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