Ethical Values in Pulp Fiction Pulp fiction is a movie filled with drugs, violence, gambling, and pop iconography, describing how real-life society is going towards the “death of god” era; a life without morals - Pulp Fiction introduction. A lot of movie critics would say that Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta) possess no ethical values, no sense of morality. They also say that the movie does not convey a message. The movie does convey a message; Quentin Tarantino just masks it behind the street-savvy talk and murdering of persons who “wronged the boss. ” Pulp Fiction is about a world where cold-blooded murder and greed are socially acceptable.
Virtues as Aristotle states are mainly based off of habits, these men’s habits are killing and making money, there are only two men who break these habits and desire to change their norms, Jules and Butch (Bruce Willis). Jules’ epiphany happens when a kid unloads a clip on him and Vincent at nearly point blank distance and every shot misses the two. Jules considers it to be a “divine intervention. ” When you look at the scene closely Tarantino wants to portray it as a divine intervention as well, there are three bullets that should have went straight through Jules and Vincent.
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After this Jules goes on to say “my eyes are wide fuckin’ open.. that’s it for me. From here on in, you can consider my ass retired. ” You realize after this “miracle” that Jules’ morals have completely reversed and he is a spiritual being as well, saying how he “felt the touch of god” and how he’s going to “walk the earth” until god places him where he wants to be and if god doesn’t he’ll walk forever. You really see his change at the end of the scene when he is talking to Ringo(one of the robbers) and goes back on his rant of the righteous man.
This time he analyzes it thoroughly though and says, “The truth is, you’re the weak and I’m the tyranny of evil man, but I’m tryin’ Ringo, I’m tryin’ real hard to be the Sheppard. ” Jules realizes he must get rid of the evil within himself. In the first scene you see of Butch he is making a deal with Marsellus to lose his boxing match. Of course with greed being a main theme and Butch’s “survival of the fittest” attitude he gets a guy to bet on himself with as many bookies as he could and wins the match, he also kills the opponent he faced nd shows absolutely no remorse which goes with the norm and theme in the movie; murder. Later on Butch is driving back from getting his watch and sees Marsellus walking across the street which leads to a chase scene into a pawn shop. This is where Tarantino does an interesting thing, he introduces a greater threat, Zed and his brother, to fix the dispute between Marsellus and Butch, this is also when Butch has his redemption/escape moment. Marsellus is the first one to be taken to the back room while Butch is tied up in the chair.
Butch breaks free and can run away but decides to rescue Marsellus; this is when Butch has his change of heart. He grabs the best weapon he can find (a katana sword) to save Marsellus. Although Butch doesn’t have a monologue or anything about it, you realize he has escaped the morally wrong world as well. Vincent never makes the transformation that either of the characters previously discussed made. In fact he completely denies the fact that those missed shots were a “divine intervention,” he considers it a “freak occurrence. Vincent like Butch was in the beginning is filled with greed but Vincent also seems a little paranoid he thinks killing is the only profession he would be able to do to make money. When Jules is talking about walking the earth Vincent starts saying how Jules is “gonna be like those pieces of shit out there who beg for change. ” His greed takes over; he only looks at Jules’ transformation as a failure because he sees no financial gain in that type of future.
Vincent fears change and stays within the norms and later you find out that he dies, which is saying it’s not always best to stay within the norms. I was curious to what was in the case and did some research and found an interesting reoccurring analysis. What is in the suitcase could very possibly be Marsellus’ soul, in the bible it states that the soul is located in the back of your neck. Marsellus has a band-aid covering a hole in the back of his neck. Butch smashed him with a car and he did not die and then even goes on to say “you can’t kill me. The combination on the suitcase is “666” and when anyone opens the case they are stunned and Ringo says “is that what I think it is? ” There are obviously themes and messages portrayed in Pulp Fiction. Society and norms is one main theme in this movie, as well as redemption in a world of evil. All the main characters had the chance at one point or another to escape and redeem themselves. It showed both sides of the story, those who did escape and those who did not.