The world is not composed of heroes and villains, but of men and women with all the passions that God has given them. The ignorant condemn, but the wise pity.
Charlie Chaplin: Prefatory title to A Woman of Paris, 1923 (archive reference: ECCI00313430, chm241001)
Chaplin is quoted in “A Woman of Paris Next Chaplin Film” in the Atlanta American, October 21, 1923: “I have tried to make a story of life as I see it—a life that is not composed of heroes and villains, but of men and women with all their passions given to them by God. My sole purpose is that of entertainment, but if a moral has crept into it, it is a preachment for tolerance and understanding for those who have made mistakes, to invite your pity for human weakness, for after all, none is perfect. It is so easy to condemn—so hard to understand, and forgive.”
He is also quoted in “Chaplin Tries Something He Never Tried Before” in the Taunton Daily Gazette, April 3, 1923: Human beings are neither heroes nor villains, neither good nor bad, and are not to be held personally accountable for actions resulting in tragedy. They are straws swayed from the outside by the social entity to which individuals are chained, and by public opinion. I don’t necessarily mean press or church, state or mob, but the influence of any person, group, custom, tradition or social gesture.”