Crime and Punishment and Taxi Driver He is a man whose psychological workings are dark, twisted, horrifying, and lonely. He is an absurd, anti-hero who is absolutely repulsed by his surroundings, and because he is unable to remove himself from them, he feels justified in removing other people. This profile fits Travis, portrayed by Robert DeNiro in Scorsese’s film ‘Taxi Driver,’ , and Raskolnikov, the main character of Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. Their revulsion for life leads both men to commit cold-blooded murders, but the story lines contain major differences. By contrasting these differences and comparing the common themes of the classic and the film, we may come to a clearer understanding of the purpose of both stories. The root of both Travis’ and Raskolnikov’s problems is their complete and utter disgust with the world around them.
Travis is a New York City cab driver who drives everywhere and picks up anyone. It doesn’t matter to him if the customer is a prostitute who uses his backseat as her workplace. He just drives around with a glazed look of indifference in his eyes, while inside, his heart is overflowing with rage. In contrast, Raskolnikov is an ex-student living in St. Petersburg during the mid 1800’s.
He is extremely poor, and therefore lives in an area called the Haymarket, where all the whorehouses and bars were located. Every time he goes out, he walks past the dregs of society, which fills his heart with hatred for everyone and everything. Both characters see the world to be completely evil and devoid of all goodness, and this existential view drives them to become exactly what they so desperately hate. Their revolt against ugliness pulls both characters towards the most ugly of all deeds – murder. Travis dreams that ‘someday a real rain will come and wipe this scum off the streets.’ He feels some sort of divine calling to actually become this ‘real rain.’ Similarly, Raskolnikov plots to sacrifice one ‘louse of a human being’ who is ‘no good to anyone’ for the benefit of thousands. Out of this scheme he derives his Extraordinary/ Superman theory that states that humans are divided into the ordinary and the extraordinary, the men and the supermen.
The statement, “a man’s character is his fate” is a very powerful statement that I strongly agree with. I believe this is true because, in my opinion, you choose your fate by the actions and choices you make every day and your actions and choices make up your character. Someone’s character can say a lot about them and your character most always chooses your fate. Your character determines what ...
These so-called ‘supermen’s upposedly possess the right to overstep any obstacles in order to fulfill their goals and further mankind. Both Travis and Raskolnikov feel that they are indeed extraordinary and therefore have been given clearance to end a life or two to better the world. Although the characters have similar traits, the story lines are set up quite differently. The main plot in ‘Taxi Driver’ is the progression of Travis’ rage to the climactic murder scene in which he shoots and kills three men involved with a twelve and a half year old prostitute. Throughout the whole story he is descending deeper and deeper into evil.
The most famous scene has Travis standing in front of a mirror pulling out his new guns and saying the often-quoted line, ‘Are you talking to me?’ in an angry frenzy. On the other hand, the plot of Crime and Punishment places Raskolnikov’s murder of an old pawn lady and her innocent sister in the beginning, so the focus is on his guilt and his road to salvation. He spirals rapidly down after the murders and drives himself mad with paranoia. It is only after his climactic confession at the end that he really finds a reason to live. But Travis never comes to this point of salvation because he doesn’t feel guilt.
How the main characters from Crime and Punishment and One Day in the Life of I van Denisovich cope differently to each of their own sufferings. Survival trough suffering is a general theme running through the novels. Different forms of survival occur because in different scenarios. In One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the story takes place in a prison camp, whereas in Crime and Punishment ...
Ironically, he is looked upon as a hero for saving the young prostitute, so he feels no need to atone. While Raskolnikov grows out of his hatred because he expiates his sins, Travis grows further in to his hatred because of the bloodshed. Crime and Punishment and ‘Taxi Driver’ are two very dark stories dealing with the difficult topics of evil and hatred. The two main characters almost completely isolate themselves from the world, which fuels their desire to kill. But while Raskolnikov learns about love and forgiveness from his murders, Travis is rewarded for his murders, and therefore feels his actions are justified. ‘Taxi Driver’ ends with the eerie feeling that Travis’ hands will be bloodied again.
Yet these contrasts in character development are what illuminate Dostoevsky’s main purpose: to show the necessity of atonement in order to receive salvation. Raskolnikov is saved and free to live, while Travis is damned and trapped in hate.