EL3510 :Literature Across Cultures II: Theory
A Clockwork Orange Essay Assignment
The Ludovico Treatment
The psychological conditioning treatment used in A Clockwork Orange , the Ludovico treatment , raises many moral issues. Is it justly to take a persons “free will” to make the world a safer place? In this paper I will discuss different perspectives from the novel, including my own reflection on the treatments moral effect on the novels protagonist, Alex. After spending two years in jail , Alex our youthful narrator sees an opportunity and is given a choice that can change his life forever. He can spend the rest of his life in jail or he can undergo the Ludovico treatment offered by the government. The Ludovico treatment is a psychological experiment designed to hopefully cure a criminals mind. That is to take away the hunger for any wrong doing towards anyone else or oneself. This treatment is a mind conditioning experiment designed to modify behavior . It consists of a type of injection that takes away a persons ability to harm. It also consists of viewing violent films that conditioned the mind to want to reject crime and violence. Given the horrid life Alex had chosen to live previously, with acts of violence and hatred , this contingency did not seem to be a bad idea for anyone who knew him. There are a few concepts that that can be viewed through different lenses to determine whether the Ludovico treatment is morally correct. When it comes to a psychological treatment such as the Ludovico treatment , is it morally acceptable to take away a persons ability of choice? Alex's human rights are taken away from him to make him an acceptable person in society ,preventing Alex of making a decision that would be of a negative consequence. Another way to view this treatment is in a way of revenge or karma. Alex hurt many people in this novel. Should he be treated with pity after this Ludovico treatment, even though he himself took away the very natural freedom of living from his victims? There are different perspectives from the novel that can support both. While in jail it seemed that the government had big plans ahead for Alex. The government and its governor were very inspired to use Alex as a guinea pig for their new never before used Ludovico treatment. This treatment meant many good things for them such as less money and less crowded jails. “The Government cannot be concerned any longer with outmoded penological theories. Cram criminals together and see what happens. You get concentrated criminality, crim in the midst of punishment[....]” “Kill the criminal reflex , that's all” (Burgess 92). This concept was thought out by the minister to make it clear that evil would never end by simply putting away all the criminals in one place all together. There is no hope when it comes to doing this, therefore the Ludovico concept makes more sense. For the minister, simply removing this evil intent from the minds of criminals is a much better choice and can save a lot of money , work , and time. In his mind corruption is what works. The importance in this is very clear. The government does not care , whether these criminals natural free rights are being abolished. To them , criminals are a hassle and morality is not an issue for them . There was a brief moment where after signing an agreement for the Ludovico treatment, Alex sat to speak with the Prison Chaplain. The chaplain probably being the least corrupt individual around , had the opportunity to speak with Alex and warn him of what he had signed up for. He began the conversation with Alex stating that he had no involvement with the Ludovico treatment and that his opinion was very weak compared to the political opinion , that is the “governments power”(95). He then warns Alex , “Never again will you have the desire to commit acts of violence or to offend in any way whatsoever against the State's peace. I...
Cited: Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. New York &London:W.W. Norton & Company , Inc, 1962 Print.
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