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Violence in a Clockwork Orange

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 04:20 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 41.4 
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Violence is a central part of A Clockwork Orange. It operates as both a stylistic representation of expression, and a greater thematic core. With such a prominent two pronged incorporation of violence, the centrality of it to the text cannot be disputed. The prominence of each prong similarly allows each to be separated and dissected upon its own relevance. Thomas Elsaesser describes each prong thusly, there is the “individual, anarchic physical violence of the hooligan, and the story-book nightmare violence of mad scientists and totalitarian politics” (Elsaesser, 1976, pp.199). The first, the violence practiced by Alex and his droogs, is an expressive element, it is used to both shock and horrify, but beyond its superficialities represents free will, choice and expression. The second kind, the more abstract form of violence perpetrated by the state is the centre of the moral quandary of the text, in direct opposition to the initial kind; it espouses a criticism of the dystopic, totalitarian state it is a product of.

The first type of violence is consistently present throughout the first trimester of the movie. Vicious, constant and seemingly indiscriminate, it earned a considerable amount of negativity towards the film. But in this senselessness lies a fairly simple aim, a glorification of the will. For Alex, there lies a deep reversion towards art other than music. This is seen by his juvenile appraisal of the films displayed during the Ludovico reconditioning and the similar reaction to the phallus and other sexual art displayed at the cat woman’s house. The Ultra-Violence is his expressive medium, a canvas of sorts, while grotesque, his penchant for the gaudy showmanship involved demonstrates how much these acts are a creative manifestation of Alex’s character. In accordance with this, the early scenes of violence are highly stylized, an aesthetic quality pervades, demonstrative of the implied creativity involved.

The first...


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