At first glance, it seems plausible that Marsellus forgave Butch because Butch saved him from the pawnshop where they had been captured by Maynard and Zed. But now after reviewing the film several times I feel that this might not be an acceptable explanation.

Of course Butch did save Marsellus from that hellhole. But do not forget: Butch double-crossed Marsellus in the boxing match, and it was also Butch that got both of them into the pawnshop situation.

In the very beginning, Butch had already made a promise to Marsellus to lose the match and had taken Marsellus's money. So Marcellus had every good reason to seek vengeance upon Butch for his betrayal. And again, if not for chasing Butch, he would not possibly have become captured in the pawnshop. Indeed, it was Butch to blame for all of the trouble.

So why would Marsellus forgive Butch at all? I mean, if I were in his situation, I wouldn't have felt very comfortable to let Butch go free.

  • 4
    I didn't see it as forgiveness more of a "we're square" due to the fact that Butch saved his life and and the fact that he didn't want word of what happened getting around to hurt his reputation. That is why he told him to leave LA and never return.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 4:01
  • Marcellus CHOSE to chase Butch. Butch didn't make him do that. While it certainly would be expected, given the situation, Marcellus made his choice, as well. Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 21:18

3 Answers 3


Marsellus was just sodomized by two racist rapists. He's traumatized. Butch stopped that and saved him, instead of leaving him there, when he didn't have to. His anger at the time was towards the rapists. Fighting Butch at that moment would distract from payback against the rapists. He had more important things to do.

Keep in mind, he didn't forgive Butch completely. He warned him if he ever saw him again, he'd kill him. It was a truce, the enemy of my enemy is my temporary friend type situation. Butch was also in the same situation as Marsellus, and likely would have suffered the same fate.

  • Traumatized:

    Butch: You okay?
    Marsellus: Nah, man. I'm pretty fucking far from okay.

  • More important things to do:

    Butch: What now?
    Marsellus: What now? Let me tell you what now. I'mma call a couple of hard, pipe-hittin' niggas to go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. [to Zed] You hear me talking, hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. Imma get medieval on yo' ass.

  • Truce:

    Butch: I meant, what now between me and you.
    Marsellus: Oh, that "what now." I tell you what now between me and you. There is no "me and you". Not no more.
    Butch: So we cool?
    Marsellus: Yeah, we cool. Two things: don't tell nobody about this. This shit is between me, you, and Mr. soon-to-be-living-the-rest-of-his-short-ass-life-in-agonizing-pain rapist here. It ain't nobody else's business.

  • Warning:

    Marsellus: Two: you leave town tonight, right now, and when you gone, you stay gone, or you be gone. You lost all your LA privileges. Deal?
    Butch: Deal.
    Marsellus: Now get your ass out of here.

For some context, all Butch cost Marsellus was money. Petty change compared to being raped. It's not like it was personal for Marsellus, that's just business. He doesn't have a great motivation to continue going after Butch. The truce reflects that. "I won't spend time/effort looking for you, but I don't want to see you any more".

  • 12
    As the saying goes, Marsellus does not look like a bitch. It be a bitch move to kill the man that saved you, regardless of some petty cash.
    – cde
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 5:34
  • lol this is funny.
    – Vim
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 11:15
  • 1
    Your comment is the real answer. I don't think trauma had anything to do with it, bigger fish to fry does however. Marsellus' posture changes upon being asked this question as it is looked at with a new perspective. A better word than duty or honor, I cannot think of. 'Cause he ain't a bitch seems to do well enough though.
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 15:18

Explaining shortly,

It was a square deal. Marsellus didn't forgive him, they were square. Butch defied Marsellus in the boxing fight, Marsellus turned against Butch, they had a fight and eventually ended up in the room with Zed and Maynard. While Marsellus was getting sodomized, Butch escaped and got a weapon (a Guntō sword) and returned to save Marsellus's life. So therefore they were pretty much square.

Another deal they made was that Butch was never to return and he was to stay away.

Marsellus: Two: you leave town tonight, right now, and when you gone, you stay gone, or you be gone. You lost all your LA privileges. Deal?

Butch: Deal.

Marsellus: Now get your ass out of here

Now if you start to think, it was a pretty fair deal. Butch just cost Marsellus money and then Butch "repaid" Marsellus by saving his life.


To add another perspective, I think maybe it was less about Butch having saved Marcellus' life, and more about giving him such a beautiful opportunity for revenge against the two rapists, which Marcellus would undoubtedly enjoy. It may be a callback to the scene in which Vincent Vega relates that his new car was scratched by somebody and that, for him, it would almost be worth having his car keyed just for the pure satisfaction of catching the person who did it and the enjoyment of getting revenge on them.

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