Alex vs. Beowulf: the Antithesis of a Lifetime

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In all works of literature, the role of the protagonist is the most important role for the reader because the protagonist is the one who is to define the perspective in which the story is told to the reader. More importantly the protagonist's actions and qualities are what set aside the protagonist from all of the other characters in a poem or novel. In A Clockwork Orange the protagonist, Alex is portrayed as a violent fifteen-year-old boy who deals with the inability to express his violent nature due to a treatment that forces him to feel pain every time he thinks about a violent thought. On the other hand, Beowulf, from the epic poem Beowulf, is a revered warrior who fights to protect the people of Denmark from the feared and vicious monster, Grendel. Although both of these protagonists deal with violence throughout the pieces, their unique characteristics set them apart from one another. Alex's desire to create havoc and evilness as the antihero in A Clockwork Orange, and Beowulf's desire to protect the people and his good hearted spirit as the hero in Beowulf, illustrate to the reader that Alex and Beowulf are the antithesis of each other. In A Clockwork Orange, Alex serves as a character who creates havoc throughout the city in which he resides. After leaving the Korova Milkbar, a bar where Alex and his fellow friends, or "droogs," drink "drug-laced" milk, Alex commits crimes, such as attacking an old man while he is leaving the library (Burgess 1; Galens 3). Alex, along with his droogs, takes the old man's books and begins to burn and destroy them: "…so Georgie let go of holding his goobers [lips] apart and just let him have one in the toothless rot [mouth] with his ringy fist, and that made the old veck [guy] start moaning a lot to then, then out comes the blood, my brothers…" (Burgess 7). This quote shows the reader how violent Alex and his gang of droogs are. They find pleasure in attacking an elderly man to the point where he his completely beaten and bloody. Alex and his droogs continue committing these crimes throughout the novel and in another instance, they knock on someone's door saying that their friend is hurt and that they need to use the phone. Since the people refuse to comply, Alex, and his droogs break into the house wearing masks and viciously beat a man and gang rape his wife: Plunging, I could slooshy [hear] cries of agony and this writer bleeding veck [guy] that Geogie and Pete held on to nearly got loose howling bezoomny [crazy] with the filthiest of slovos [words] that I already knew and others he was making up. Then after me it was right old Dim should have his turn, which he did in a beasty snorty howly sort of way with his Peebee Selley maskie taking no notice, while I held on to her (Burgess 23).

In this quote, Alex shows his lust and violence as he and his gang, attack the couple in the most violent way imaginable. This passage shows how violent the gang is with the couple and how they feel no remorse as they attack two mature adults. In addition, Alex is shown to be a savage human being as he rapes a woman and then passes her over and holds her down for a friend to rape as well. This is significant because it shows the true nature of Alex and how he enjoys committing crimes. For Alex and his gang, there is no limit as to how far they are willing to go with their attacks on innocent people. They are able to instill fear in society by committing these crimes on the innocent. There is no reason as to why they attack neither the old man nor the couple, other than the need to create havoc in the city. By creating havoc everywhere, constantly attacking the powerless and raping women, Alex creates a notorious image of himself, especially in the eyes of those who know him. However, creating a notorious image is not very beneficial for him, because even his close friends lose respect for him: P.R. Deltoid then did something I never thought any man like him who was supposed to turn us baddiwads...
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