Violence in a Clockwork Orange: Analysis Using George Gerbner’s Philosophy of Violence

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Violence in A Clockwork Orange: Analysis using George Gerbner’s Philosophy of Violence
A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novel, describing a forthcoming future in a stately controlled country. The anti-hero Alex rebels against the state using violence and is consequently locked up. Later he is turned into a harmless subject without free will, powerless of perpetrating any crime. However, through the Ludovico Treatment, the method in which the state turns Alex into a harmless subject, violence is represented as two forms: A tool for control by the state or a perpetrator of pain for Alex. This representation of violence can be paralleled to George Gerbner’s, Global Media Mayhem, where a clear distinction between difference types of violence is made. Gerbner explains that “Happy Violence” is usually “cool, swift, painless, and often spectacular, even thrilling, but usually sanitized” (Gerbner 88). Examples of “Happy Violence” include animated cartoons where characters are usually hit, shot, or trampled over by other characters, but either the character “pops” back to life or dies while the show continues. Through this example the distinction that makes happy violence is that there is no repercussions of the violence that is committed. The character’s move on with their lives, not understanding the consequences of the violence that is committed. However, Meaningful Violence is “Individually crafted, historically inspired, sparingly and selectively used expressions of symbolic violence can indicate the tragic costs of deadly compulsions” (Gerbner 88). Examples of this type of violence can be found in Shakespearean novels, such as Hamlet. In Hamlet, the death of Polonius is a tragic event that affects the rest of his family. His son is convinced that he must kill the murderer of his father, while his daughter is driven to madness and eventually commits suicide. Unlike a cartoon, the violence that is committed towards Polonius by Hamlet has repercussions for the...
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