A Clockwork Orange

Christianity Symbol Icon
Christianity encapsulates the ethical dilemma at the core of the novel. The book’s only religious figure, the prison chaplain, is particularly bothered by the way that Reclamation Treatment deprives Alex’s capacity for moral choice. The chaplain worries about the theological implications of this lack of free will: “What does God want?” he asks. “Does God want woodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some ways better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?” In contrast to the chaplain’s skepticism about the therapy, Dr. Brodsky asserts that Reclamation Treatment has turned Alex into the “perfect Christian.” Alex even inadvertently compares himself to Jesus, when, after his treatment, he is unable to resist violent treatment from an orderly: “If that veck had stayed I might even have like presented the other cheek.” Thus, the debate about whether or not Alex is truly a Christian extends to the debate about Reclamation Treatment as a whole: is a clockwork man a moral one, or a will-less machine?

Christianity Quotes in A Clockwork Orange

The A Clockwork Orange quotes below all refer to the symbol of Christianity. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Language Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W. W. Norton & Company edition of A Clockwork Orange published in 1995.
Part 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want woodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some ways better than a man who has the good imposed upon him…You are passing now to a region where you will be beyond the reach of the power of prayer. A terrible terrible thing to consider. And yet, in a sense, in choosing to be deprive of the ability to make an ethical choice, you have in a sense really chosen the good.

Related Characters: The Prison Chaplain (speaker), Alex
Related Symbols: Christianity
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

And what, brothers, I had to escape into sleep from then was the horrible and wrong feeling that it was better to get the hit than give it. If that veck had stayed I might even have like presented the other cheek.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Related Symbols: Christianity
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

He will be your true Christian…ready to turn the other cheek, ready to be crucified rather than crucify, sick to the very heart at the thought even of killing a fly.

Related Characters: Dr. Brodsky (speaker), Alex
Related Symbols: Christianity
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

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Christianity Symbol Timeline in A Clockwork Orange

The timeline below shows where the symbol Christianity appears in A Clockwork Orange. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 6
Language Theme Icon
Sadism and Society Theme Icon
Free Will vs. the “Clockwork Orange” Theme Icon
Art and Humanity Theme Icon
Conformism Theme Icon
...fearful feeling that it may be better to receive a blow than to deal one. “If that veck had stayed I might even have like presented the other cheek,” he observes. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
Language Theme Icon
Sadism and Society Theme Icon
Free Will vs. the “Clockwork Orange” Theme Icon
Conformism Theme Icon
...To conclude the presentation, Dr. Brodsky claims that Alex has been made into a “ true Christian ” by the treatment. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
Language Theme Icon
Sadism and Society Theme Icon
Free Will vs. the “Clockwork Orange” Theme Icon
Art and Humanity Theme Icon
Conformism Theme Icon
...of decrepit old men. Alex tries to consult some reference books, but finds them impenetrable. He grabs a Bible off a shelf and begins to read it instead , but the accounts of violence threaten to sicken him. Alex is near tears when... (full context)