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Power of Beethoven in A Clockwork Orange

It had been a wonderful evening and what I needed now, to give it the perfect ending, was a little of the Ludwig Van.“-Alex

Kubrick’s most controversial film featured young delinquent Alex,who indulges in “ultra violence” which consists of rape and lots of brutal beating. However he have this peculiar habit of loving Beethoven. That is how I am going to discuss about Beethoven and its relationship to A Clockwork Orange thematically and character-wise.
First of all,I will give some background of Beethoven in a brief paragraph (The rest could be googled in Mother Google)
Ludwig Beethoven came from the “Romantic” period in Classical music which focused mainly on the emotional experience of the person and often inspired by other sources. Notable figures of this “romantic” era besides our Ludwig are Wagner,Chopin and Liszt. Now to Beethoven,he was in the transitional period of Classical and Romanticism classical music,he was very notable for these compositions
Symphony no 5 (Everyone would remember the dun-dun-dun part)
Moonlight Sonata
Fur Elise (Yes that piece you learn in your basic piano classes)
However what made Beethoven so famous is his Symphony No 9 (Ode to Joy) where he composed when he was deaf.
Since then this piece could be heard from the EU anthem to a hymn “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee“. So we are ingrained that piece in our minds.
Interestingly Beethoven was the German composer that was regarded as a German icon after World War 2 and Ode of Joy was played during the fall of the Berlin War. Therefore we see some political connections of Beethoven as the man whose music personify the freedom of the human race
Now moving on to Alex (Played by Malcolm McDowell),there is a ‘quiet’ moment after his droggs attacked a rival gang. Alex came to his room and we are introduced to his space. You could tell a person by his or her space,if it was messy or neatly organized. Here we seen Alex’s room to be eclectically mixed,with a big poster of Beethoven which shows his idol and also the use of colours reminded me of a child’s room. There we came to that famous montage sequence where it zoomed to the Beethoven poster and there cut to his pet snake crawling in the painting of a naked woman and towards the Jesus staute shown in different shots in the tune of the second movement of 9th Symphony. It shows on the consumption and there slowly the scene cuts to Alex have that gazed look towards Beethoven and we have a lucivando montage of a lady being hanged,Alex being a vampire and the earth exploding and back again. Rob Ager read this scene as Alex seeing his egostical self. Interestingly Symphony 9th as Beethoven’s greatest work,and considered to be the epitomize of human glory therefore it highlights Alex’s desire for glory and power.
Secondly on the use of Beethoven was used in Alex’s disadvantage  in the infamous brainwashing sequence (I.E The Ludivinco Technique)
Here Alex summoned himself to the treatment because of his desire to change,here he went through his second round of treatment. During that treatment the psychiatrists played Nazi war footage with the 4th Movement of Symphony no 9. Now it’s get really interesting why they purposefully choose the 4th movement as opposed to the novel which Alex cannot handle all classical music.
For this fourth movement,it was borrowed from a German poem named “Ode to Joy” The lyrics for that piece were written by Beethoven as opposed to the original poet.
O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.
Freude! (men’s chorus: Freude! )
Freude! (chorus again: Freude! )
Oh friends, not these tones!
Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
And more joyful sounds!
Joy! (Joy!)
Joy! (Joy!)
Freude, schöner Götterfunken*
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods*
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire,
Heavenly one, your sanctuary!
Your magic reunites
What custom strictly divided.
All men become brothers,
Where your gentle wing rests.
Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!
Whoever has had the great fortune
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won a devoted wife,
Join in our jubilation!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to, must creep
Tearfully away from this band!
Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.
Vor Gott!
Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature;
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and vines,
A friend, proved to the end;
Pleasure was given to the worm,
And the cherub stands before God.
Before God!
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Glad, as His suns fly
Through the Heaven’s glorious design,
Run, brothers, your path,
Joyful, as a hero to victory.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen.
Be embraced, millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.
Finale repeats the words:
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Seid umschlungen,
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Finale repeats the words:
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Be embraced,
This kiss for the whole world!
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods
Spark of the gods!
Here the lyrics celebrate the joy and unity of all mankind which again highlights Alex’s dual nature of loving his “Ultra-Violence” and yet appreciating the beauty of classical music. Interestingly the music used for Alex’s treatment was synthesized as opposed to the true orchestration. It adds that ominous air on the power of the government have in Alex. I found this analysis of the ninth to be very provocative  “In A Clockwork Orange, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony punctuates the heights and depths of emotion Alex experiences, just as Beethoven hoped the symphony would express the heights and depths of human experience……. Unlike Beethoven’s vision, for Alex, the glory of the final movement represents simply his own personal glory.” There we enforced on the theme of power control in A Clockwork Orange.
Now I shall cover the last two scenes of A Clockwork Orange which was Alex’s descent to madness via suicide  and the cryptic ending which also used Beethoven. You may recall the earlier scene where Alex and his droggs attacked the writer’s house and raped his wife. Here we could see the retribution Alex faced after he was cured. After being tortured by his former peers,Alex wandered back to the house  to where he tortured his victims.
The writer managed to exploit his weakness on playing Symphony no 9 and by the look of the writer’s face,it could be said that he resemble the bust of Beethoven. He seemed cold and rather sinister to Alex’s demise and perhaps that much-needed retirbution to Alex’s deeds in the past.
Therefore it plays the ironic note as the fourth movement was played in the synthesied mode,as it plays the ominous note on Alex’s emotions and mindset.
Now here towards the cryptic ending of Clockwork orange,
As opposed to the synthesized form of the fourth movement,they played the second movement of Symphony No. 9 which is orchestrated when the minister went to visit Alex and agreed to the mutiny of power of politics. Here the minister talked about the certain friendship and the past incident of Alex being tortured by the writer. It adds that ironic tone as this symphony talks about the unity of human beings and here at Alex’s lowest moment he managed to receive that glory he craved on. Even at that last scene where he commented that he was cured,it seems that he was fulfilled and even the people was different from his opposing peers as they applauded from that scene. Rob Ager sees this as the “wedding sequence” as he said this as a metaphor for Alex’ growth as the character “Alex has progressed beyond his lust for multiple sexual partners and beyond his use of violence as a sexual outlet. As he says, “I was cured alright”. 
In conclusion,Kubrick managed to executed the use of Beethoven as the ironic force for Alex’s character. It shows the power of humans doing good and emotional capability. It was seen by many music critics as the greatest symphony that Beethoven created as to see the glory of human beings yet in Alex’s eyes,it was the power that he craved which he gained in the end by his downfall. Even at that cryptic sex scene,maybe Alex eventually “grow out” of his streak of violence and raper to find more fulfilling purposes in life. The power of his composer was gone,and it was nothing but a nullifying force.

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