Pulp take the suitcase from Winnfield, butwere unsuccessful.
Pulp FictionCharles ChaponisWRT 101Bruce JohnsonFinal Copy2/12/97Throughout the movie Pulp Fiction, directed by Quentin Tarantino, there aremany hidden references to religion and the Bible. The movie starts off,introducing our two main characters, Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, as twocheap 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 theirboss.
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 Vegawas forced to take her to the drug dealer’s house to save her life, as well asthe robbers in the restaurant, who try to take the suitcase from Winnfield, butwere unsuccessful. The whole movie serves as a warning to all mankind to avoidthe 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 dothe drugs, and they were almost the downfall of the whole attempt.The movie wasted no time in introducing the first biblical referencewhen the two men try to retrieve the suitcase containing Wallace’s belongings.When Vega opened the suitcase, he used the combination “666” to open thesuitcase, and when he opened it, the contents glowed a golden-orange color.This was obviously an introductory attempt to show the audience that thesuitcase held Marcellus’ soul. Perhaps Tarantino was trying to show that thepeople that stole the suitcase were the devils pawns, and these two hitmen wereangels trying to retrieve stolen property.
After Vega and Winnfield had obtained their “treasure,” Winnfield quotedthe Bible, specifically Ezekiel 25:17, the passage about destroying the evilmembers of the society that try to harm others for no reason. Part of thatpassage was “..and you will know my name is the Lord, when I lay my vengeanceupon thee.” This quote shows that Winnfield sees what he is doing as heroic, ormaybe angelic, and by carrying out his duties, he is following the word of theLord. As Winnfield shot the boy, Brett, an orange-golden glow enveloped thescreen, representing Brett’s soul leaving his body.
This whole part of themovie is to warn the evil-doers of the world to cease their wrongdoings, becausethere are people out there who will stop them.The next main scene of the movie took place in a bar, where MarcellusWallace sat, conversing with Butch, a boxer, whose career, Wallace said, is nearan end. He convinced Butch to throw a fight, for a cash reward. As the camerapans around, we see that Wallace had a bandage on the back of his neck. TheBible states when the Devil takes your soul, he takes it out of the back of yourneck.
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 scenealso suggests that Wallace was possibly trying to play God by trying to makeButch throw the fight. These signs show us that if we try to play God, we willbe punished severely.Now we saw Vincent Vega visiting a drug dealer who looked astonishinglylike classic descriptions of Jesus Christ.
This uncanny resemblance can only behere to show us one thing: that He is the creator of all, and can be thedestroyer 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 itturns out, later in the film, we see the drugs that Vega bought from the dealercause Mia to OD and she narrowly escaped death with an adrenaline shot to theheart. The adrenaline shot was administered by Vega, however it was at thedealer’s house, once again showing us that He has supreme control over us, forwithout the dealer, Mia would never have been in this situation, nor would shehave 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. Ashe 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 himdirections. This image is further strengthened when we see Mia looking down onVega through a system of security cameras. This, yet again, gives us the imagethat since Mia is Marcellus’ wife, she was also in a way trying to play God bywatching 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 thebackground.
This was seen as a strengthening sign, to demonstrate to us evenfurther the likenesses of the Wallaces to God and their attempt to controlothers.At this point, the movie jumped ahead to another job that Vincent Vega mustperform 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 thefight he was paid to, and in fact beat the other fighter so badly that he killedhim. As Butch returned to his home to pick up a watch left behind by hisgirlfriend in the frenzied exit, he encountered Vega who was hiding out waitingfor 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 ofthe movie, which is actually the middle of the story, Vega was ridiculing Julesbecause 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, aboy appeared out of the bathroom, firing a gun five times directly at the twohitmen, but missing with all five shots.
This shows us further that Vega isstraying from loyalty and belief in God and his ways, and this is why he is shotand killed in the boxer’s house. This is a strong and effective way to tell usthat non-believers will be eliminated, and that God is all powerful.Again, jumping back a bit, the angels (Jules and Vincent) came across aserious dilemma when Vega accidently shot a boy in a car in broad daylight. Thetwo end up calling Wallace, who in this sense was God, to help them. He sent totheir rescue the man they call The Wolf. He was the lifesaver to the twopartially fallen angels.
They committed a sin that was not a retribution foranything done to them, and for this they were stuck between a rock and a hardplace, and needed the help of their “God” to save them. This is a cleverlyhidden 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 donepreviously, there is a price to pay.At the end of the movie, which is actually the same scene as the verybeginning of the movie, both of which are the middle of the story, in therestaurant in which Jules and Vincent are in is being robbed, the robber triedto get the suitcase from Jules. A shuffle ensued, and Jules ended up with theupper hand. He did, however open the suitcase for the robber, and the robberthought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, which the soul is saidto be.
Jules did not kill the robber; instead he let him go, with the moneyfrom the restaurant. He did, however, recite Ezekiel 25:17 to the robber, butthis time he did not shoot his listener. This time he contemplated the meaningof the passage as he was saying it.
He develoed several intriguing explanationsof the passage, but his last is his best. He says that the robber is the weakin society, and that he, Jules, is the tyranny, but he is trying to be theshepherd. 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 cannotplay God, and therefore he is forgiven. Vincent, however, never fully realizedthis, 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 powerof God are extremely prevalent in the film. Elements of the plot such as therealization of wrongdoing by Jules, the general feeling that the Wallaces aretrying to be all knowing and all powerful, the drug dealer being the downfall aswell as the savior for Mia, and the way that Jules and Vincent try to controlothers lives and are punished for it all show us something. These signs show usthat we must do as we think we should, and not try to control anyone butyourself, because if you are busy trying to control others, you may not betending to yourself, leaving yourself wide open to manipulation by others likeyourself. If we mind our own business and take care of ourselves, the worldwould go a lot smoother, and have many fewer conflicts.