Starring Godfrey Quigley as

Prison Chaplain

in A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange A Clockwork Orange is a brutal Stanley Kubrick film, based on the Anthony Burgess novel. In the near future society is in decay, and the streets are overrun by violent gangs. The government has a new heavy-handed test project, designed to re-program these renegades, in order to free up the overcrowded prisons to make space for political prisoners.
Alex Malcolm McDowell as Alex in A Clockwork Orange: "What we were after now was the old surprise visit. That was a real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultraviolent." Deltoid Aubrey Morris as Deltoid in A Clockwork Orange: "What gets into you all? We study the problem. We've been studying it for damn well near a century, yes, but we get no further with our studies. You've got a good home here, good loving parents, you've got not too bad of a brain. Is it some devil that crawls inside of you?" Minister of the Interior Anthony Sharp as Minister of the Interior in A Clockwork Orange: "Public opinion has a way of changing."
Movie
A Clockwork Orange
Year
1971
Character
Prison Chaplain
Actor
Godfrey Quigley

The Prison Chaplain offers something of a way out for Alex, as he attempts to curry favour with anyone in a position of authority. The chaplain however, is certainly NOT in favour of the government project that Alex manages to get himself recruited into.

A Clockwork Orange – Prison Chaplain Quotes

The prison chaplain preaches to the inmates:

Prison Chaplain: What’s it going to be, eh? Is it going to be in and out of institutions like this? Well, more in and out for most of ya! Or are you going to attend to the Divine Word and realise the punishments that await unrepentant sinners in the next world as well as this? A lot of idiots you are, selling your own birthright for a saucer of cold porridge! The thrill of theft! Of violence! The urge to live easy! Well, I ask you what is it worth when we have undeniable truth – yes! Incontrovertible evidence that Hell exists! I know! I know my friends! I have been informed in visions that there is a place darker than any prison, hotter than any flame of human fire, where souls of unrepentant criminal sinners like yourselves…!

[an inmate belches, prompting the rest to laugh]

Prison Chaplain: Don’t you laugh, damn you! Don’t you laugh! I say like yourselves scream in endless and unendurable agony! Their skin rotting and peeling! A fireball spinning in their screaming guts! I know! Oh yes, I know!

[Another inmate makes a raspberry noise, prompting them to laugh again]

Alex pleads good faith with the prison chaplain (right, like we believe him), and the prison chaplain reveals the central issue of the film:

Chaplain: The Governor has grave doubts about it [aversion therapy] and I have heard that there are very serious dangers involved.

Alex: I don’t care about the dangers, Father. I just want to be good. I want for the rest of my life to be one act of goodness.

Chaplain: The question is whether or not this technique really makes a man good. Goodness comes from within. Goodness is chosen. When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.

Alex: I don’t understand about the whys and wherefores, Father. I only know I want to be good.

Chaplain: Be patient, my son. Put your trust in the Lord.

Prison Chaplain: Choice! The boy has not a real choice, has he? Self-interest, the fear of physical pain drove him to that grotesque act of self-abasement. The insincerity was clear to be seen. He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice.

Minister: Padre, there are subtleties! We are not concerned with motives, with the higher ethics. We are concerned only with cutting down crime and with relieving the ghastly congestion in our prisons. He will be your true Christian, ready to turn the other cheek, ready to be crucified rather than crucify, sick to the heart at the thought of killing a fly. Reclamation! Joy before the angels of God! The point is that it works.

Alex: [voice-over] And the very next day, your Friend and Humble Narrator was a free man.


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