Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times takes on the satirical representation of society during the ‘modern’ industrialization era characterized by social inequities and the undying pursuit of happiness. The film portrays the dehumanizing acts in society through the existence of poverty, and the mistreatment of employees in the industries. It will, therefore, be crucial to analyze the various aspects the movie employs to criticize dehumanizing acts in society, by the use of satire.

The essay will use a variety of disciplines of literature work of peer-reviewed sources journals as well as the movie to create an understanding of how Modern Times uses satire in criticizing the dehumanizing acts in the society (Siebert, 2018). The essay will focus on poverty, hunger and unemployment and how people were desperate after the Great Depression (Gasiorek, Reeve-Tucker & Waddell, 2016). In a general approach, the essay analyzes the use of satire in the movie to depict dehumanizing acts in society. For instance, employees lack privacy rights as presented in the scene where Charlie Chaplin goes to the bathroom but is no longer comfortable due to constant monitoring by the boss.

The essay will also emphasize on how the introduction of machines made people lose their freedom since companies focus more on productivity than the employee’s welfare. The employees get overworked without extra pay for extra hours (Harris, Levin &Santino, 2018). The companies thus pride themselves in being the most efficient which contribute to gaining a competitive advantage in the market at the lowest cost possible (Zimmermann & Morgan, 2019). The Modern Times thus portrays the inhumane treatment the employees face in the companies. It shows the typical example of the companies that expect their employees to work like machines instead of human beings. The Modern Times thus indicates that human beings do not have the freedom to work at their speed to contribute to the growth of the company. The paper also shows how surviving in the modern world is very challenging since most activities employ the use of machines. Therefore, the introduction of machines to enhance efficiency, thus, led to an increased unemployment rate.

The essay will also highlight another dehumanizing act presented in a satirical way in the Modern Times as workers are unable to perform normal activities such as eating lunch and going to the bathroom. For example, the scene in which Charlie Chaplin goes to the bathroom for a short break highlight how companies invade the privacy rights of individuals as well as other rights like compulsory breaks in between working hours. The essay will also analyze how Charlie Chaplain uses satire to depict poverty as a result of the mistreatment of the workers (Kumar, 2016). In the movies, the employees are not getting enough salary worth their efforts in the factory; hence they are unable to afford food.

The essay also gives details on the harm that the introduction of machines has caused to society. For instance, Charlie Chaplin is being fed by the machine as he continues working thus indicating how industries do not value human life.  Besides emphasizing much on high efficiency that leads to repetition of manual work create psychological impacts on an individual. Therefore, there is the possibility of workers having a mental breakdown if the managers do not consider their capabilities yet continue to overload them with endless work for the sake of increasing output.



Gasiorek, A., Reeve-Tucker, A., & Waddell, N. (2016). Modern Times against Western Man: Wyndham Lewis, Charlie Chaplin, and Cinema. In Wyndham Lewis and the Cultures of Modernity (pp. 141-158). Routledge.

Harris, W., Levine, L., & Santino, J. (2018). Millions Like Us. Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Expanded Guide to Films about Labor, 250.

Kumar S. (2016). Charlie Chaplin Modern Time Full Movie 1936. Retrieved on February 28, 2019, from

Siebert, S. (2018). ‘A deeply troubled organization’: Organizational satire in the BBC’s W1A comedy series. Scandinavian Journal of Management.

Zimmermann, A. C., & Morgan, W. J. (2019). EM Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’: humans, technology and dialogue. AI & SOCIETY34(1), 37-45.