Pulp Fiction Meaning – Vincent and Jules are Priests in the Church of Marsellus Wallace

In Pulp Fiction Vincent and Jules represent two priests enforcing God’s law (Marsellus Wallace) with their religious rites (handguns). Jules questions whether he’s right by following this God. Vincent, however, remains loyal to God even while being tempted by Mia.

Vincent describes the arbitrary nature of Man’s laws. Neither respects nor follows man’s laws.

Vincent: “Yeah, it breaks down like this: it’s legal to buy it, it’s legal to own it and, if you’re the proprietor of a hash bar, it’s legal to sell it. It’s legal to carry it, which doesn’t really matter ’cause – get a load of this – if the cops stop you, it’s illegal for this to search you. Searching you is a right that the cops in Amsterdam don’t have.”

 Both respect and fear the consequence of breaking God’s laws.

JULES: “He gave her a foot massage.”

VINCENT: “What did Marsellus do?”

JULES: “Sent a couple of guys over to his place. They took him out on the patio of his apartment, threw his ass over the balcony.  Nigger fell four stories. They had this garden at the bottom, enclosed in glass, like one of them greenhouses – nigger fell through that. Since then, he’s kinda developed a speech impediment.”

Jules questions of the merits of God’s laws and whether they are just. Vincent believes in the merits and punishment of God’s laws – those who break the laws should be prepared to face the consequences.

JULES: “Look, just because I wouldn’t give no man a foot massage, don’t make it right for Marsellus to throw Antwan off a building into a glass-motherfuckin-house, fuckin’ up the way the nigger talks.

That ain’t right, man. Motherfucker does that to me, he better paralyze my ass, ’cause I’d kill’ a motherfucker.

VINCENT: “I’m not sayin’ he was right, but you’re sayin’ a foot massage don’t mean nothing, and I’m sayin’ it does. I’ve given a million ladies a million foot massages and they all meant somethin’. We act like they don’t, but they do. That’s what’s so fuckin’ cool about ‘em. This sensual thing’s goin’ on that nobody’s talkin about, but you know it and she knows it, fuckin’ Marsellus knew it, and Antwan shoulda known fuckin’ better. That’s his fuckin’ wife, man. He ain’t gonna have a sense of humor about that shit.”

Although Jules begins to question his God, he still serves as a Priest by preaching about the consequences of disobeying God.

JULES:  “Now describe to me what Marsellus Wallace looks like!”

BRETT: “Well he’s… he’s… black –

JULES: “– go on!”

BRETT: “…and he’s… he’s… bald …“

JULES: “Does he look like a bitch?!”

BRETT: “What?”

JULES: “Does-he-look-like-a-bitch?!”

BRETT: “No.”

JULES: “Then why did you try to fuck ‘im like a bitch?!”

BRETT: “I didn’t.”

JULES: “Yes ya did Brett. Ya tried ta fuck ‘im like a bitch?! You ever read the Bible, Brett?”

Vincent does not question God’s laws until he meets Mia. Vincent is forbidden from tasting the female fruit from God’s tree. But Mia seduces Vincent by putting doubt in his mind about the God’s true intentions. She explains to him that he and his fellow priests misinterpret God’s actions as punishments. According to Mia, the priests do not hold the truth about the true nature of God.

MIA:”Marsellus throwing Tony out of a four story window for giving me a foot massage seemed reasonable?”

VINCENT: “No, it seemed excessive. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I heard Marsellus is very protective of you.”

MIA: “A husband being protective of his wife is one thing. A husband almost killing another man for touching his wife’s feet is something else.”

VINCENT: “But did it happen?”

MIA: “The only thing Antwan ever touched of mine was my hand, when he shook it. I met Antwan once – at my wedding – then never again.  The truth is, nobody knows why Marsellus tossed Tony Rocky Horror out of that window except Marsellus and Tony Rocky Horror. But when you scamps get together, you’re worse than a sewing circle.”

Like Adam eating the apple from the Garden of Eden, Vince dances with Mia while they look into each other’s eyes. Just like a foot massage, it was a sensual thing – neither talked about it but they both knew it.

After nearly being killed by a handgun, Jules comes to the realization that Marsellus gang is merely just wicked men with handguns. He has not been following a higher power but merely enforcing tyranny with his own handgun.  He decides to abandon his Marsellus’ laws and start following God’s will.

JULES: There’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.  Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.”

“I been sayin’ that shit for years.  And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never really questioned what it meant. I thought it was just a coldblooded thing to say to a motherfucker ‘fore you popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin’ made me think twice. Now I’m thinkin’, it could mean you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man.  And Mr. .45 here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass the valley of darkness. Or is could by you’re the righteous man I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish.  I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’. I’m tryin’ real hard to be a shepherd.”

Vincent comes very close to feeling God’s wrath after Mia overdoses on his heroin. But, luckily, his drug dealer (Jesus) saves him by giving him the power to resurrect Mia from the dead. He considers himself lucky and never disobeys God again. He continues to serve in the priesthood until he dies in the bathroom by his own handgun.

 

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