Study Guide

A Clockwork Orange What's Up With the Ending?

What's Up With the Ending?

So Much For His Happy Ending

One of our all-time favorite conspiracy theories states that Avril Lavigne died and was replaced by a doppleganger. And, although Kubrick attracts conspiracy theories like Beyonce attracts paparazzi, this isn't a theory perpetuated by A Clockwork Orangeā€¦but it's similar to what happens at the end of the movie. The Alex at the film's end is both totally the same as and totally different from the dude we meet in the milk bar.

While Alex is unconscious after attempting suicide, doctors do something to his brain to reverse the Ludovico technique. This is alluded to by Alex's dream, "like all these doctors were playing around with me gulliver. You know...like the inside of me brain." And the psychiatrist's face when Alex tells her this suggests that this wasn't a dream at all.

The Minister soon enters and says, in many, many words, that Alex will now be a pawn of the government. The government will give him a job and a salary. Why? Because according to the Minister, Alex "can be instrumental in changing the public's verdict." Alex is fine with this.

At this point you might be wondering, "Who is this person, and what did he do with Alex, a boy who seemed eager to destroy the world and everything in it?" Well, the last line of the film is Alex saying, in a voiceover, "I was cured, all right" as he imagines himself having sex with a young woman in a crowd of people.

So is Alex back to the way he was before, or has he found a medium between violent criminal and brainwashed Ludovico victim? The film leaves that for us to decide, but we think he's somewhere in the middle.

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