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Social Issues In Charlie Chaplin's Easy Street

Decent Essays
Charlie Chaplin’s iconic Tramp character is often someone to laugh with, or laugh at, but not necessarily someone you learn from. The Tramp character is impulsive and reckless, hardly the standard for model behavior. Despite this characterization, the Tramp’s role differs significantly in Easy Street. He is the hero that the titular street desperately needs, a place where the depraved and deprived struggle to survive. The use of social issues in Easy Street is not merely to use them for the jokes, but to lighten the burden surrounding the subjects, and in doing so providing a more hopeful perspective: one where these issues are not overwhelming and the solutions don’t seem Herculean, but instead are presented as being within the audience’s begging grasp. The film provides relief by portraying issues a general public can be dealing with, and not treating them as these daunting things to be intimidated by, but to laugh at, since they can be solved, as the Tramp demonstrates, through religion and labor. Chaplin affirms that one of the main reasons for his success is that he makes films that portray what an audience wants to see. “Even the most inoffensive of us has sometime or other conceived the grotesque idea of pulling those millionaire whiskers––just a fleeting, absurd idea” (Chaplin 6), states Chaplin. As the audience has an innate desire to see a high-class business man lose their composure and status, they also have a desire to see hope in dire situations. The same
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