Protagonist Alex In ‘Clockwork Orange’ by Stanley Kubrick
In A Clockwork Orange, the protagonist is an anti-hero whose journey is not like the typical hero, however it is quite similar as it contains various archetypal elements. Alex, for the most part, is isolated in his experiences; it involves his battle of mental oppression and him as an opposition to society which is viewed as the shadow in the novel, specifically represented by minister of the interior. Alex’s journey may not be viewed as the typical hero’s journey, however, analyzing the novel using Christopher Vogler’s stages of the mythological hero’s journey, helps make the hero’s journey more apparent. The first stage of the hero’s journey begins with the ordinary world. For Alex, the ordinary world is sex, violence, and drugs, all with little consequences. For almost half of the novel, readers learn about Alex’s figure in society, how they do as they please: raping, robbing, and brutalizing people and them getting away with it. When Alex is given an opportunity to undergo the Ludovico treatment, it reveals the call to the adventure. in order for him to get out of prison early.
Alex would have to go under radical procedures until he had been cured and approved. Essentially, Alex having to re-enter society and a socially reformed individual can be viewed as the adventure, which becomes clearer throughout the novel with the challenges he must face. Prior to the Alex’s treatment, readers also meet the threshold Guardian, the prison Chaplain. This character attempts multiple times to warn Alex about the Ludovico treatment as well as exposes the ethical issues during the Alex’s demonstration in front of the crowd of state officials. [Show quote]. Clearly the chaplains statements are reflected when the novel stages the refusal to call when Alex is under the treatment, he doesn’t want to continue with the process and begs the doctors to stop. [Show quote]. This is also where Alex meets his mentor, being the Ludovico treatment, which forces him to shut down those violent thoughts and feelings by making him feel sick every time preparing him for his re-entry to society. In terms of the approach to the Inmost Cave; this is where the hero needs to take steps willingly or unwillingly that leads him to their inevitable fate.. For Alex, he needs to accept that the Ludovico treatment has deprived him of his free will.
In contrast to him prior to the treatment he is now an empty shell and wishes to undo everything and go back to how he was before. He must come to terms with and face this; Alex struggles when he is tasked with the onerous undertakings of his journey during the Ordeal stage. This is when the character faces his greatest challenge typically experiences death or rebirth. For Alex this all occurs when he is released back into society tested everywhere, he goes in which he struggles significantly. He is unable to defend himself anymore when his victims, enemies attacked him. His typical reaction would be to fight back, however the Ludovico treatment always had constant power over him as it makes him sick whenever he tries to fight. The Hero’s Journey also comprises of the hero driven and returning to the ordinary world known as The Road Back. Alex finds himself in the home of a writer whose wife was murdered by Alex and his gang earlier where the writer does not recognize him. This was stressful for Alex as he returned to one of his most brutal crime. It is also evident in this scene that the Ludovico did not cure him. [Show quote]. He does not care about what he had done and was afraid that he will be recognized and caught and will be sent back to treated. This is something he will have to face as he tries to go back to his original self. Finally, the end of the Hero’s Journey is comprised of the resurrection and the return with the Elixir. These events are quite short in the novel and occur quickly. The resurrection of the Hero involves the hero returning to the ordinary world.
Alex eventually ends up locked in a room when he inadvertently reveals himself as the ringleader of the writer’s home invasion. Here loud relentless classical music is played, the same used in the Ludovico treatment; this is incredibly severe to Alex, it drives him insane to the point where he attempts suicide by jumping out the window. Alex doesn’t die however is “Reborn” as the Ludovico has no effect on him anymore as the drug is lost with the blood. Alex is back to his original self as his violent impulses have returned. Lastly the return with the Elixir; this is where the hero returns to improve the ordinary world. Alex goes back to his old ways with a new gang, however, finds himself not enjoying it as much as before. After his encounter with his former gang member who was now reformed and married, Alex is inspired and considers becoming a productive member of society, leaving his old life behind, and having his own family.
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