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A Clockwork Orange and the Question of Free Will
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In A Clockwork Orange the main character's uncompromising exercise of free will is perceived as a threat to society. The only way the government sees fit to deal with Alex is by subjecting him to an invasive behavior-altering procedure. The novel depicts a government that is intolerant of individuals whose actions deviate from social norms. The price Alex has to pay for deviating is his ability to enjoy free will.

        The purpose of this paper is to analyse the theme of free will in A Clockwork Orange. Since Alex is the vehicle through which the novel chooses to discuss values, Alex's ethics, motives, and actions are analyzed in order to better grasp the novel's claim about free will. The significance of Alex's initial disinterest, and later interest, in participating in society is also explored. Foucault's theory of power as well as Steiner's philosophy of freedom have been used to better understand the issues involved.

        The character of Alex is used to demonstrate free will and its limitations; at first as an example of free will manifested without constraints, and later as an instance of society’s containment of free will. By turning Alex into a conformist, the novel points to the obstacles that stand between the individual and his ability to practice free will. In the failure of Alex’s attempt to claim autonomy, the novel makes a statement about the fate of free will generally.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 17
Keywords [en]
free will, freedom, Anthony Burgess, social conditioning, Foucault, good, evil, autonomy
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-152172OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-152172DiVA, id: diva2:1178029
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Available from: 2018-09-18 Created: 2018-01-26 Last updated: 2018-09-18Bibliographically approved

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