The Great Dictator

1552 Words7 Pages
Humor in The Great Dictator Charlie Chaplin created and starred in the controversial film, The Great Dictator, in 1940. Controversy stemmed from its use of humor and parody features in exposing the Nazism and anti- Semitism. In addition to producing the film Charlie Chaplin also plays the two main characters: a Jewish barber who is constantly chased by Adenoid Hynkel, the oppressive dictator of Tomania, and his policemen. In one of Chaplin’s later statements regarding the movie he said, “Had I known of the actual horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, I could not have made The Great Dictator.” In discussions of Chaplin’s great movie, one controversial issue has been the extreme use of humor and satire. On the one hand, many argue that “humor is the only truthful way to show the truth” (Freda Freiberg, 2007). On the other hand, others felt that “any fictional treatment was inappropriate because fiction- whether popular entertainment or high art- smacks of falsity. While the Holocaust was too real, thus, they believed its reality could only be conveyed by factual documentation and testimony” (Freiberg, 2007). Even though it is a funny movie, Chaplin uses humor as a vehicle to delve into a serious subject. Although using humor might be considered scandalous to some critiques, everyone can admit that Chaplin made a remarkable film based on his famous sense of humor. As Enid Welsford (2008) said, “comedy evokes a critical and thoughtful reaction from an audience because it challenges symbolic orders.” The way Chaplin chose to present the characters in the movie is very special, because every person who watches the film knows who they are; however, one did not think that someone can present them in such a foolish way, which makes this portrayal so special. Although it was a controversial decision, Chaplin chose to portray these figures as clowns, which enabled him

More about The Great Dictator

Open Document