Alex is the book's protagonist and first-person narrator. Fifteen when the book starts, Alex is a smart, compelling, problematic narrator who forces readers to see the world through the eyes of a teen who not only acts violently but enjoys each act of violence greatly. Alex is also the voice through which author Anthony Burgess presents issues of freedom of choice, the authority of the state, and the boundaries between them. Depending on which version of the novel readers choose, Alex is either a strangely static protagonist or a protagonist who changes profoundly as he matures.
Pete is the least aggressive member of Alex's gang. A follower, he tries to defuse the tension between Alex and Georgie, and unlike the others, by the time he is 19, he has left the violent teen culture behind, married, and entered the adult world of work and family. In the British version of the novel, when Alex sees Pete and his wife, Alex feels pulled to make the same shift. Pete demonstrates that Alex could have chosen to reject violence at any point. His example makes the case for that freedom of choice.
Georgie is, like Alex, violent, ambitious, and smart. Georgie is the gang member who tries to make connections and research possible targets, as opposed to Alex, who drifts through the nights looking for chance opportunities for violence. Georgie's motives differ from Alex's: Alex seeks violence for its own sake and for the enjoyment he gets from it, while Georgie wants to focus on theft and financial gain.
Dim is big, strong, and irritating to Alex; his guffawing laugh is insufferable. Dim is not bright, and Alex thinks of him mainly as enforcing muscle; but he is smart enough to grasp that Alex treats him as inferior and quick enough to disable Alex with a quick lash of his chain across Alex's eyes, effectively turning him over to the police. Dim does not change when he becomes a police officer; he is as brutal and vindictive as ever when Alex meets him after his release from treatment.
F. Alexander is not only an antagonist in the novel but also a foil to Alex. Both grasp that the modern State can and sometimes does approach human behavior, and its control, mechanistically, but Alex's reaction to the idea of a "clockwork orange" is visceral and personal—he feels its wrongness in his gut and fits his thoughts to this impulse. F. Alexander, in contrast, approaches the concept intellectually and fails to apply it personally, until he is confronted with violence in the person of Alex. Alex is a tool of the State first, and an injured person second. Still, F. Alexander gives Alex the language he needs to consider what the State has done to him.
Minister of the Interior
The Minister of the Interior is the face of the State, the representative of what Alex calls "the boastful vonny [stinking] Government." The Minister wants to use Alex for the State's purposes, both as a guinea pig for behavioral therapy and, later, as a partner in covering the State's mistakes. Pragmatic and inhuman, the "MinInt," as Alex names him, is both Alex's enemy and his ally.