Abstract

Placing archetypal "underdogs" or "losers" in the roles of protagonists allows and encourages the viewer to identify with them or understand them as an idealized Other, though the audience may differ from the failure protagonist in social class, gender, or any other condition. In film, one of the most persuasive and ubiquitous media of the 20th century, underdog and weakling characters germinated in early popular comedies such as those by Charlie Chaplin and the other silent clowns. Using Chaplin's filmography to illustrate the underdog's ironic supremacy, this thesis aims to unravel the initial values and expectations inherent in Hollywood underdog comedy films, trace these components to their paradoxical political and economic roots, and draw conclusions on their social and economic consequences.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities; Comparative Arts and Letters

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2017-04-01

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd9205

Keywords

Underdog, Charlie Chaplin, comedy, American dream

Included in

Classics Commons

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