The Characterization of Travis Bickle in Martin Scorsese ‘S Taxi Driver(1976)

Topics: Taxi Driver, Vietnam War, Vietnam veteran Pages: 6 (2289 words) Published: September 14, 2012
Taxi Driver (1976) comes across Vietnam vet Travis Bickle (played by Robert de Niro, famously known for his part in The Godfather 2)who is 26, a loner in the mean streets of New York City, almost obsessively, reflects on the ugly corruption of life around him, and becomes increasingly disturbed over his own loneliness and alienation. Every phase of his life, he remains a complete outsider, failing to make emotional contact with anyone. Unable to sleep night after night, he goes the local pornography emporiums to find diversion, and begins desperately thinking about an escape from his depressed. This essay aims to examine the complex character, difficult psyche of Travis Bickle, the main character. Secondly analyze its connections to the major themes which include loneliness, sex and violence. Martin Scorsese once said ” I didn't know that the characters we created in our films were existential heroes; I never studied philosophy. But I always believed in their emotions” In the beginning of the film, Travis complains about being lonely and not having any place to go.he called himself `God ‘s lonely man.When the cab company’s personnel office ask whether he is “moonlighting”. Travis unsure what the words means but absolutely certain he wants to work “long hours” and especially “ anywhere, anytime.”meaning he has nothing to do with his life. His new job give him a spectacular and disheartening perspective of the city that so fascinated his attention and rejects him. Driving to Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn , he sees all the city has to offer. Among the millions of people in New York City, meaningful personal connections can be few and far between, and in Taxi Driver we see several cases of such urban isolation. Travis resents that the people in his cab pretend he doesn't exist, and in a way, New York itself is an extension of the little world of the taxi: The city is full of people who don't pay attention to each other and who pretend Travis isn't there. As a psychological search and revealed of Travis Bickle , the film is at once earnest , ironic and chilling . Schrader, the script writer, calls him “ a particular kind of breed of white boy,” a desperate , lonely and specifically urban individual, who takes out his rage on the nearest available targets. Roger Robert notes that his “utter aloneness is at the center of taxi driver, one of the most alienating of movies heroes. Other theorist see in this same imagery a kind of exactness and insight into the culture that produces him , for example Robert Kolker argues “ Taxi Driver rigorously structures a path that is separate from community,separate from the exigencies of any `normal life’, separate from any rational comprehension and need. “What left” he writes is “only the explosion of an individual who in madness , attempts to act out the role of movie hero”. These movie serve as both his cure ad his temporary lost of control., signaling his no reasons alienation from and immersion in the nourish nightscape he so urgently use abusive word. Although we become well acquainted with Travis throughout Taxi Driver, his mental instability makes his actions unpredictable, and although Travis seems sympathetic, we never fully understand him. Travis is never part of the normal world. Though he initially wants to fit in and to be like other people, he is too mentally ill to act normally. Even at his best, at the beginning of the film, he can't sleep, drinks heavily, pops pills, and spends his mornings in porn theaters .We never learn exactly what happened to Travis during Vietnam, and the rest of his past remains unexplored, so there's no way to explain why Travis has become the way he is. Travis itself is extreme version of the damaged Vietnam veteran , honorably discharged in May 1973, before the fall of Saigon but well after the war had turned sour for the troops, the U.S administration and the U.S public alike. For one thing American society was in transition , the...
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