Humor In Charlie Chaplin's Film Modern Times

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One of the most valuable aspects of personality is humor – we value one’s sense of humor and make friends often based on finding certain things funny. But how and why do we consider things to be funny at all? Human beings have strived to uncover fundamental truths about human nature for centuries – even millennia – but humor itself is still yet to be pinpointed. Henri Bergson is only one of many who has attempted this feat, and his essay Laughter: an essay on the meaning of the comic from 1911 breaks down comedy into what he believes to be its essential forms and origins. While Bergson makes many valid points, Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times that was brought to screens only twenty years later seems to contradict many of Bergson’s theories, while Bergson seems to contradict even himself over the course of his essay. …show more content…

He claims that all of comedy is unequivocally human, and that the purpose of laughter is to correct those who are imperfect in a society that strives to be perfect, which can be agreed upon through the film. However, Bergson also makes sweeping claims that even contradict himself in his essay that humor is entirely intellectual and absent of any emotional connection, and goes on to argue that humor is social. It might also be crucial to add that both the essay and the film were produced a century ago, and the nature of comedy has possibly been adapted and modified in this time. Much of Chaplin’s slapstick comedy feels dated, but we still understand what is and is not humorous in his films. It can be implied that it is nearly impossible to specifically pinpoint the origins and practices of humor in an ever-changing and incredibly diverse society, but Bergson makes a decent attempt in his essay, and Modern Times can be used as only one example of thousands of comedic films through which the essay can be

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