The Other In Taxi Driver Essay Research

The Other In Taxi Driver Essay, Research Paper

“The Other” is a theme, motif or figure which seems to appear over

and over in the movie. It could be nature, women, other races, other

cultures, homosexuals, criminals, rulers, Gods, monsters, etc. In the film,

the protagonist becomes just like “The Other” in order to resolve the

problem. Usually, “The Other” is killed by the protagonist at the end of

the movie. “The Other” is always the victim in the movie, it is a

scapegoat: it is the focus of the resolution of the problems. In “Taxi

Driver”, “The Other”, according to me, is two elements: women an criminals

(gangsters). In the beginning of the film, the protagonist, Travis Bickle

falls in love with a woman who works for Palantine as a volunteer. After

going out with each other for a couple of times, the woman decides not to

see Travis again. Travis says that she’s just like the others, meaning just

like all the other women. In order to take revenge, he tries to assassinate

Palantine in front of her. “The other” also appears as gangsters in the

movie. Travis, in order to eliminate them, becomes a criminal just like

them. Therefore in “Taxi Driver”,we see two good examples of “The Other”.

In “Taxi Driver” we see that Travis Bickle still has an identity

forming problem, or I might say that he has unconsciously formed an

identity during his childhood, but he’s trying to find it. It was his

curiosity about his identity that was giving him problems to sleep.

Basically, his identity should be formed based on his father’s identity,

but nothing is obvious. Whoever his (Travis) model was, planted the

confidence in Travis to form his identity. For example, if our parents

don’t tell us in early our childhood about a certain quality that we have,

we might have an identity crisis in our adult lives. In this film, we have

a good example of “identity and rivalry”. After Travis based his identity

upon his model, he started a competition with his model, he tried to do

something that his model wouldn’t have done: he went out there and killed

the gang members.

In “Taxi Driver”, we get introduced to two types of women: “the

good girl” and “the bad girls”. Both of them are introduced in the

beginning of the movie, but the first one, “the bad girl”, appears more

frequently in the first part of the movie. She is the one that Travis

desires, the one that he would like to go to bed with. He even takes her

out to an X-rated movie. this, of course, is way of saying let’s get laid.

He might have done it unconsciously, but it is obvious that he desired her.

Although we are introduced to “the good girl” in the beginning of the film,

She appears towards the end of it. She is introduced to us as a hooker,

getting into Travis’ cab by saying: “get me out of here”. Now, we all know

that hookers make part of “the bad girls”, but according to Travis, she’s

not. She’s the girl that he wants to help, he would do anything to get her

out of her miseries, so he does: he goes and eliminates the gang members

that have control over her. Therefore, here we have a perfect example of

“Madonna/Whore Complex”.

“Taxi Driver” is a film that doesn’t have only one end. Certain

events bring an end to story, where everything goes back to normality. The

first event is when Travis tries to assassinate Palantine. The second one

is when he takes out all the gang members in the building to save “the good

girl”, and the third is when “the bad girl” gets into his cab, and he

completely ignores her because he has gotten over it.


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