A Developmental Study of Alex in Kubrick's a Clockwork Orange

Topics: A Clockwork Orange, Ludwig van Beethoven, Classical conditioning Pages: 6 (2114 words) Published: October 8, 1999
A Developmental Study of Alex in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange

Synopsis of A Clockwork Orange

In A Clockwork Orange, the main character is that of a mildly young child of 15 who, along with his fellow friends, or "Droogs", partake in evenings of Ultra-Violence. Ultra Violence consists of random beatings, theft, destruction, and rape. The main character, Alex, is the self-proclaimed leader of the pack, and makes judgment on their actions pending on his mood. His Droogs eventually find themselves under his direct rule, following his every word, and decide to challenge his authority.

The three Droogs (Dim, Georgie, and Pete) join Alex on his romp to a local "fat farm" to pillage the goods therein. Inside, Alex stumbles upon the owner of the resort, and after a length scuffle with her, ends up giving her a blow to the head with a rather large, ceramic replica of an erect penis. When he leaves the outer gates of the complex, Dim surprises him by smacking a milk bottle against his face. His counterparts escape while little Alex is left bleeding and blinded to deal with the police.

Upon interrogation of Alex, he discovers that the blow he delivered to the young lady was a fatal one. He is charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison. While there, he befriends the resident minister and becomes a helper to his service. The minister, Alex soon discovers, is a part in a new form of treatment that is trying to be implemented prisons to help "cure" inmates from committing acts of violence. Through luck and discussion with the higher officials in the prison, Alex is chose to be a guinea pig for the experiment, and is sent to become "inoculated from violence".

The treatment consisted of Alex being strapped down to a chair in front of a cinema screen, having electrodes attached to his head, and being kept focused by small pairs of clamps used to disable his ability to blink. This, along with the injection of an experimental serum, is monitored whilst he views movies of UltraViolence. The serum leaves him vulnerable to his surroundings, which are destructive films, and induces such feelings of helplessness, fear, and near-death paralysis, similar to that of drowning. Alex soon associates this feeling of distraught with the violence, and with the background music being played throughout the entire ordeal: Beethoven, Alex's main love. The final result is that whenever Alex is confronted with either violent acts of any kind, or the sweet strings of Ludwig Van, he is soon on his knees in pain and agony.

When he is released, his parents abandon him. He meets up with a few members of his old gang that have turned into crooked cops, and with their newfound power and long-lasting loathe of Alex, they beat him much and leave him for dead, this of which brought on the sickness that he was conditioned for. Stumbling in the dark for help, he comes across a polite looking residence that looked vaguely familiar. Eventually, Alex realizes that he is in the presence of a former victim of his, but believes that the owner would not recognize him.

To his dismay, the author did recognize him after hearing Alex sing a song in a very similar fashion to the way his attackers did 2 years ago. After slipping a sedative into Alex's wine, Alex wakes up to find himself in a locked room on the second floor of an apartment high-rise. Through the floorboards, Alex starts to hear the hateful sounds of Beethoven, and goes into his sickness fits. No exits, No escapes. His only way out is to jump out of the closed window and end his life. He does just that.

Alex wakes in a hospital. The author was jailed for attempted murder, and the government officials that started the program were ridiculed and harassed out of their positions. Alex finds himself broken and hurt, but his thoughts are that of the Ultra-Violence. Alex was cured and ready to live again.

Aspects of Psychology

In A Clockwork Orange, Alex is portrayed as two...
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