Charlie Chaplin is a name that rings familiar in the minds of many people, especially film fans. Chaplin was an acting director who contributed to his films in an extraordinary amount of ways. He could even make the music for his films. However, that is beside the point. This article is about his most famous character, "The Tramp." The Tramp appears in many of Chaplin's most popular films, such as "The Kid," "The Great Dictator," and "City Lights." All of these films feature a poor, yet well-mannered, clumsy man, who makes a wacky, yet compassionate hero. What many people do not know about this character is Chaplin always bases The Tramp on himself, which is also a reason why he plays The Tramp.
Chaplin was born poor. He grew up poor. His mother was committed to a mental asylum when he was just around nine years old, leaving him and his brother to fend for themselves. Luckily, about five years later, Chaplin acted as a paperboy in "Sherlock Holmes." This ran from 1903-1906. It was also the beginning of his career in entertainment. Chaplin then proceeded to become a mime for years, before getting his first film deal in 1913 for "Making a Living." 1915, however, was the year of the release of "The Tramp," where his famous character was born.
As Chaplin's childhood inspired his character, his personal views began to, as well. The Tramp soon became a way for Chaplin to express his own views on the country, the world, and the human race. Though Chaplin's films could have silly, outrageous humor in them, there would often be themes that Chaplin was clearly trying to convey in them. In 1940's "The Great Dictator," Chaplin delivered a memorable speech that involved his expressions on humans, dictators, capitalism, and society. Chaplin was raised poor, so he feels strongly about charity and greed. "The Great Dictator" delivered his views on the rich consuming the poor with their greed and hate. It delivered his views on dictators and unlawful rulers, specifically Adolf Hitler. The whole film ridicules Hitler through unofficial parodying and intentional relationships between the Nazis and the dictator's command in the film. Chaplin was brave in expressing these views, as the film was created in the heart of WWII. Hitler was in power and at war with America. Then, Chaplin releases a film about him. It is obvious how this could cause controversy. In addition to "The Great Dictator," Chaplin made a film in 1947 called "Monsieur Verdoux," in which he delivered a speech denouncing capitalism. Chaplin was tried as a communist and was pushed from America in 1952.
This article is not supposed to be about Chaplin as a communist, nor is it supposed to be a timeline of Chaplin's life, but it is supposed to show how Chaplin truly expressed himself through filmmaking. Chaplin used characters, monologues, and plots to describe his personal views on various topics. He always delivered a message behind his films. He was an artist and a role model for artists. He showed the world what expressing oneself was, even to the point of being pushed from his country.