Pulp Fiction Butch Coolidge Analysis
Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) is another of Pulp Fictions iconic characters. While perhaps not as popular as Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, Butch still manages to be immensely popular. However, regardless of this popularity it is rare to see anyone truly attempt to analyze Butch Coolidge and reveal what he is all about. Herein, it will be argued that the characters of Pulp Fiction each represent an idea, of which Butch’s is honor.
How Does Pulp Fiction’s Butch Coolidge Represent Honor?
As Pulp Fiction explores the manner in which different ideologies concerning life interact, each of the characters represents an ideology. The ideology to which Butch most strongly adheres is honor, or a sense of honor. Just how this is the case will now be discussed.
Butch Coolidge and The Watch
The watch that was passed down from generation to generation serves as the primary device of Butch’s views concerning honor, perhaps even the starting point for them. As a result, he will risk death in order to make sure he has the watch, which represents his honor.
Butch Coolidge And Marsellus Wallace
Butch’s relationship with Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) is intended to show honor’s relationship to authority figures. While Butch respects Marsellus, when Marsellus asks him to work against his honor it ultimately backfires with Butch refusing to dishonor himself by deliberately throwing a boxing match. The conversation in the car reveals a lot about Butch’s view concerning this, with his justification for killing the opposing boxer being that the boxer was never capable of beating him and was only in the match because it was going to be fixed. Thus, to Butch, anyone who goes against their own honor deserves to die if it comes to that.
While this all ultimately leads to Marsellus being caught by two rather savage criminals, Butch refuses to leave Marsellus to such a fate, as that would be dishonorable. Subsequently, Butch returns to save him in order to keep is honor. An interesting matter of note is that Butch uses a Samurai sword, which is a Japanese weapon associated with the honor of the Samurai.
Butch Coolidge and Vincent Vega
Butch’s relationship with Vincent Vega (John Travolta) is strained as Vincent represents logic, which is innately opposed to honor. In order for honor to exist, a person must go against what they logically believe the correct path, and instead stick rigidly to some form of code. The example the film uses is that Butch leaves his watch in his apartment and goes back there despite knowing that hit men would be waiting there for him. Logically, he could buy another watch of equal value with the money, but that watch is attached to his honor so he must return for it. In returning for the watch, he makes an illogical choice and thus symbolically kills logic by killing Vincent Vega.