A Clockwork Orange

by: Anthony Burgess

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained
4. What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?

This quotation, which appears in Part Two, Chapter 3, comes from the chaplain and articulates a distinctly Christian perspective on the subject of free will. The chaplain refers here to the Reclamation Treatment that Alex will undergo, a psychologically imposed behavioral modification that would render Alex incapable of performing evil deeds. As the Christian voice of the novel, the chaplain ascertains that good acts are morally valueless if performed without free will. He thus doubts the moral worth of Ludovico’s Technique, and, if anything, wonders if forced benevolence is in fact more evil than sin itself. Christianity is predicated on sin and redemption through God’s grace. This belief presupposes a free individual will that can both sin and commit good acts. Ludovico’s Technique, however, eliminates the essence of humanity by not allowing for free will, which by necessity includes the option to be bad.