Is moral depravity better than forced morality?

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This is such a difficult question to answer. One could argue in favor of either position based on the context of Anthony Burgess's novel, so I will do my best to explain both sides.

First, one could argue that the text indicates forced morality is better. Before Alex is...

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This is such a difficult question to answer. One could argue in favor of either position based on the context of Anthony Burgess's novel, so I will do my best to explain both sides.

First, one could argue that the text indicates forced morality is better. Before Alex is reconditioned in prison with the Ludovico Technique, he is a mercilessly violent young criminal. He actually enjoys violence, his crimes only increasing in depravity, culminating with the gang rape that causes the victim to die. He has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, but after the experiment, Alex becomes a different person. He no longer has any desire to commit acts of violence. Burgess could be suggesting that forced morality might be good for society as a whole, if everyone abhorred violence in the way that Alex does.

However, the text also indicates that moral depravity is better. Despite Alex’s reconditioning, he is miserable after his release from prison. The State literally tortured him in order to produce his aversion to violence, which is not exactly ethical. Besides this, the experiment robbed Alex of his love for classical music. Furthermore, after the State reverses the experiment, Alex eventually gets tired of the violent life on his own. This suggests that Burgess is saying that the only true way to eliminate moral depravity is through individual choice and growth. The experiment to force morality upon Alex is essentially a failed one.

Looking at both of these explanations, you should be able to answer this question in regard to the novel.

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