Week 8 Blog Post: A Clockwork Orange

Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange is a renowned film, known to have a great cult following, and that is probably because of how bizarre it is. It combines the themes of rape, murder, conspiracy, anarchy, and government betrayal and possesses ironic and contrasting music such as classical music and synth music. All of this madness is packed into a hectic two-hour block, and thus derived is the bizarreness that is associated with this film.

However, of all of the plot elements of this film that can be analyzed to reveal its purpose, there are just as many elements that can be analyzed simply by observing the films sound. A Clockwork Orange uses both diagetic and extra-diagetic sound to send messages. For example, the diagetic singing of a happy song, “Singin’ in the Rain” by Alex serves as a contrast from his violent actions during that scene. The same can be said about the extra-diagetic sounds, in this film, such as the playing of Beethoven while a woman is raped. I think the use of this sound is ironic, and shows the eagerness and genuine happiness Alex feels while he is about to do a violent act. Also, Beethoven’s 9th symphony begins to play every time Alex is monologuing, or when he is enjoying himself, while it never plays when Alex is in jail, showing his detachment from violence and crime.

All in all, I think the use of sound reflects Alex’s feelings throughout the film as he changes from a powerful person into a weaker, more submissive person. However, at the end of the film, when Beethoven’s 9th symphony is played, and Alex smiles, “I was cured, all right”, It means that Alex is now back to his violent ways. The sudden return of Beethoven at the end shows Alex’s real emotions, and that he has not been cured of his ultra-violence.

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