Study Guide

Pulp Fiction Justice and Judgment

Justice and Judgment

Let's get hypothetical for a moment. You're in a restaurant when two crazy people start to rob it at gunpoint, taking everybody's wallet. They come to you and you, being exactly the fearsome dude that matches your wallet's description, disarm the robber and turn the tables. What do you do? Pop a cap in his rear end? Call the police? Make him put back the cash register money and give everyone their wallet back? Let him walk out with all the cash and wallets and give him $1500 out of your own pocket? That last one doesn't sound like the best option, but it's exactly what Jules does for Ringo and Yolanda.

The characters in Pulp Fiction have their own code of behavior, but whether you can call it justice is questionable. People like Marsellus call the shots about what's supposed to be done, and Vincent and Jules just carry out his orders. The justice of gang life is so warped that a man being thrown out of a four story window for a foot massage seems plausible to Jules and Vincent. Do people in the film get what's coming to them? When victim and enforcers are all criminals, does justice mean anything?

Questions About Justice and Judgment

  1. What kind of differences do you see in Jules and Vincent's judgment? Do they have different moral standards? 
  2. What are some examples of characters dishing out their own version of justice? is their "justice" always just?
  3.  How does the faux-biblical sense of justice and judgment in Jules's speech reveal itself through the actions of the characters?

Chew on This

Vincent, being a hitman responsible for the purposeful and accidental deaths of multiple young men, suffers a just end when he's killed by Butch.

The whole point of this movie is that justice and morality are totally relative and therefore meaningless.