Pulp Fiction Essay, Research Paper
Throughout the movie Pulp Fiction, directed by Quentin Tarantino, there are
many hidden references to religion and the Bible. The movie starts off,
introducing our two main characters, Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, as two
cheap hitmen in search of a package belonging to their boss, Marcellus Wallace.
The package is retrieved, and they then began their job of returning it to their
boss. Along the way, they ran into difficulties, such as Vega’s so-called
“date” with his boss’ wife, Mia, during which she overdosed on heroin, and Vega
was forced to take her to the drug dealer’s house to save her life, as well as
the robbers in the restaurant, who try to take the suitcase from Winnfield, but
were unsuccessful. The whole movie serves as a warning to all mankind to avoid
the temptations of the Devil, as well as a warning to not try to play God,
because the two boys who stole the suitcase play the role of the Devil, as do
the drugs, and they were almost the downfall of the whole attempt.
The movie wasted no time in introducing the first biblical reference
when the two men try to retrieve the suitcase containing Wallace’s belongings.
When Vega opened the suitcase, he used the combination “666″ to open the
suitcase, and when he opened it, the contents glowed a golden-orange color.
This was obviously an introductory attempt to show the audience that the
suitcase held Marcellus’ soul. Perhaps Tarantino was trying to show that the
people that stole the suitcase were the devils pawns, and these two hitmen were
angels trying to retrieve stolen property.
After Vega and Winnfield had obtained their “treasure,” Winnfield quoted
the Bible, specifically Ezekiel 25:17, the passage about destroying the evil
members of the society that try to harm others for no reason. Part of that
passage was “..and you will know my name is the Lord, when I lay my vengeance
upon thee.” This quote shows that Winnfield sees what he is doing as heroic, or
maybe angelic, and by carrying out his duties, he is following the word of the
Lord. As Winnfield shot the boy, Brett, an orange-golden glow enveloped the
screen, representing Brett’s soul leaving his body. This whole part of the
movie is to warn the evil-doers of the world to cease their wrongdoings, because
there are people out there who will stop them.
The next main scene of the movie took place in a bar, where Marcellus
Wallace sat, conversing with Butch, a boxer, whose career, Wallace said, is near
an end. He convinced Butch to throw a fight, for a cash reward. As the camera
pans around, we see that Wallace had a bandage on the back of his neck. The
Bible states when the Devil takes your soul, he takes it out of the back of your
neck. This is where Tarantino really hinted to us about what was taking place,
and this further suggests that Wallace’s soul was in the suitcase. This scene
also suggests that Wallace was possibly trying to play God by trying to make
Butch throw the fight. These signs show us that if we try to play God, we will
be punished severely.
Now we saw Vincent Vega visiting a drug dealer who looked astonishingly
like classic descriptions of Jesus Christ. This uncanny resemblance can only be
here to show us one thing: that He is the creator of all, and can be the
destroyer of all as well, just as drugs can destroy all. This is a very hidden,
but well understood sign, for those of us who take the time to notice it. As it
turns out, later in the film, we see the drugs that Vega bought from the dealer
cause Mia to OD and she narrowly escaped death with an adrenaline shot to the
heart. The adrenaline shot was administered by Vega, however it was at the
dealer’s house, once again showing us that He has supreme control over us, for
without the dealer, Mia would never have been in this situation, nor would she
have made it out if it alive.
Jumping back a bit, at the beginning of the date between Vincent and Mia,
as Vincent entered Mia’s house, he was greeted by a voice over the intercom. As
he looked up, it was as he was looking toward the heavens for guidance from God.
The voice over the intercom was like God speaking down to his angel, giving him
directions. This image is further strengthened when we see Mia looking down on
Vega through a system of security cameras. This, yet again, gives us the image
that since Mia is Marcellus’ wife, she was also in a way trying to play God by
watching her “angel” and telling him what to do without him actually seeing her.
Throughout the whole scene, “Son of a Preacher Man” was playing in the
background. This was seen as a strengthening sign, to demonstrate to us even
further the likenesses of the Wallaces to God and their attempt to control
At this point, the movie jumped ahead to another job that Vincent Vega must
perform after he has completed his task of returning Wallace’s soul to him.
Vega was hiding out in Butch’s house. As it turned out, he didn’t throw the
fight he was paid to, and in fact beat the other fighter so badly that he killed
him. As Butch returned to his home to pick up a watch left behind by his
girlfriend in the frenzied exit, he encountered Vega who was hiding out waiting
for him, and promptly shot him repeatedly, killing him.
As the movie progressed, we saw Vega falling into the traps of society,
such as drugs, alcohol, blasphemy, and doubting of miracles. At the very end of
the movie, which is actually the middle of the story, Vega was ridiculing Jules
because he planned on retiring after witnessing what he believes to be a miracle,
or divine intervention, when in the apartment at the beginning of the movie, a
boy appeared out of the bathroom, firing a gun five times directly at the two
hitmen, but missing with all five shots. This shows us further that Vega is
straying from loyalty and belief in God and his ways, and this is why he is shot
and killed in the boxer’s house. This is a strong and effective way to tell us
that non-believers will be eliminated, and that God is all powerful.
Again, jumping back a bit, the angels (Jules and Vincent) came across a
serious dilemma when Vega accidently shot a boy in a car in broad daylight. The
two end up calling Wallace, who in this sense was God, to help them. He sent to
their rescue the man they call The Wolf. He was the lifesaver to the two
partially fallen angels. They committed a sin that was not a retribution for
anything done to them, and for this they were stuck between a rock and a hard
place, and needed the help of their “God” to save them. This is a cleverly
hidden sign that shows us that He can forgive in the “Do unto others?” sense,
but if there is something done which is not in response to something done
previously, there is a price to pay.
At the end of the movie, which is actually the same scene as the very
beginning of the movie, both of which are the middle of the story, in the
restaurant in which Jules and Vincent are in is being robbed, the robber tried
to get the suitcase from Jules. A shuffle ensued, and Jules ended up with the
upper hand. He did, however open the suitcase for the robber, and the robber
thought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, which the soul is said
to be. Jules did not kill the robber; instead he let him go, with the money
from the restaurant. He did, however, recite Ezekiel 25:17 to the robber, but
this time he did not shoot his listener. This time he contemplated the meaning
of the passage as he was saying it. He develoed several intriguing explanations
of the passage, but his last is his best. He says that the robber is the weak
in society, and that he, Jules, is the tyranny, but he is trying to be the
shepherd. This interpretation of the passage suggests that Jules realizes that,
even though he is doing the work of God, sometimes what he does is not right,
and he is trying to be the one that always does the right thing: the shepherd.
This is another reason why Jules is not killed off. He realized that he cannot
play God, and therefore he is forgiven. Vincent, however, never fully realized
this, and he is punished at the end of the story by being killed by Butch.
Although cleverly hidden, the signs of biblical inference and the power
of God are extremely prevalent in the film. Elements of the plot such as the
realization of wrongdoing by Jules, the general feeling that the Wallaces are
trying to be all knowing and all powerful, the drug dealer being the downfall as
well as the savior for Mia, and the way that Jules and Vincent try to control
others lives and are punished for it all show us something. These signs show us
that we must do as we think we should, and not try to control anyone but
yourself, because if you are busy trying to control others, you may not be
tending to yourself, leaving yourself wide open to manipulation by others like
yourself. If we mind our own business and take care of ourselves, the world
would go a lot smoother, and have many fewer conflicts.