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In 12 Angry Men, a group of twelve jurors are deciding the fate of a young 16-year-old boy accused of murdering his father. The film presents a diverse group of twelve American jurors brought together to determine the guilt or innocence of a 16-year-old defendant in a seemingly open and shut murder trial case. The film illustrates both of the advantages and disadvantages of group decision-making, leadership personality and models, group developmental stages, and the bases of social power social influence tactics and outcomes. This essay will make an analysis of Rose’s utilization the unity of both time, plot and setting in 12 Angry Men to evoke the audience’s attention on the importance of the deliberation process and the interactions between the jurors.
Rose manipulates dialogue, stage directions, and foreshadowing through repetition to explore how justice is reached in the jury process. Rose Illustrated and influenced the reader’s opinions using characterization and preferred reading to portray different jurors in different ways. He constructs the 3rd Juror, with a parallel personal story to the defendants. This Juror has a broken relationship with his 16-year-old son. This influences Juror 3’s verdict against the boy as in the stage directions; Rose notes the father is reeling from emotional pain stemming from his rejection and when he hears that the victim has been ‘stabbed in the chest’. Rose foreshadows his revenge agenda owing to his rigid, patriarchal view of parenting. Throughout the play, there are repeated references to the ‘knife’, which plays a critical part of the fact-finding process that ensues. As the case progresses, the stab wounds symbolically refer to the 3rd Juror’s raw and personal emotions contrasted with his desire to teach the boy a lesson. Rose writes in the stage directions how the Guard always locks and unlocks the room. For instance, ‘in the silence, the sound is auricularly discerned of the door being locked’, this becomes a metaphoric representation of the jurors closed minds. Rose assigns each Juror a personal and professional story to show how their life experience apprises their views and values as well as the influence it has on their faculty to evaluate the evidence. A stockbroker, who is quintessentially used to making difficult decisions under pressure, the 4th Juror reacts placidly and sensibly; he heavily insists on following ‘the logical progression of facts’ and how these facts occurred. As an architect, the 8th Juror is tranquil and considered and methodically investigates the evidence. Significantly, the 4th Juror’s eyeglasses become a key to the fact-finding process. They are withal used symbolically to parallel the woman’s eyewitness testimony, which is similarly clouded by the glasses. In the stage directions, Rose notes that ‘removing his eyeglasses’, he too becomes clouded by personal impressions and lacks foresight; it becomes ‘obvious’ to him that the ‘boy’s entire story was flimsy’. Rose uses literary devices to portray the deliberation process of the jurors.
The eighth Juror is the main protagonist of the story; he has conflicting opinions with the other 11 jurors as he is the only one who initially votes for the boy being guilty. The eighth Juror challenges the overall consensus of the other jurors and rebuts there points. So far in the book up to page 30, the eight juror is the main protagonist as all the points revolve around convincing him to change his verdict from not guilty to guilty. The eight juror doesn’t believe that a boy should be sent to the electric chair without being proven guilty, despite the compelling evidence against the defendant. Others ridicule Juror eight at the beginning of the book for going against everyone and seemingly arguing a pointless case for a guilty boy. The eighth Juror is the first to vote not guilty against the defendant which prevents an immediate unanimous guilty decision, his persistence that his fellow jurors commit more time and effort before deciding the fate of a young boy. By the eighth Juror standing alone against the other jurors shows his resilience, and is a direct contrast to the prejudice or Juror three. Juror eight brings a switch knife that is identical to the one that was displayed in court to prove his point that the knife is not hard to come by. Other jurors are all against him, particularly the prejudice of Juror three. The majority of the jurors are irritated by the eighth Juror initially, as his verdict disrupted a unanimous guilty decision meaning that they had to stay overnight until they had all come to a verdict. The reactions of others when Juror eight doesn’t raise his handed when voting for the defendant to be guilty startles everyone and there is a mix of emotions of anger and shock around the room as the other jurors believe that the trial blatantly proved him guilty some being. We can, therefore, see the significant role that the eight juror plays in the deliberation process.
Juror three is the antagonist of the book, immediately after the jurors move to the deliberation room to discuss and come to a verdict juror three is eager to get the first vote out of the way. Juror three is appalled when he finds out that there is an outlier in the ballot and that someone doesn’t believe that the defendant is guilty. Juror three is prejudice against the defendant as he speaks about his rocky relationship with his son, who he hasn’t spoken to in three years. The third Juror speaks openly about kids not respecting their parents nowadays and proceeds to open up about his son running away from home. Juror three is quick to point fingers at other jurors as shown when there is a vote on the ballot paper and excluding Juror eight, and there is a vote for not guilty. Juror three quickly points the finger at jurors five accusing him of changing his vote until Juror nine admits that it was him. Juror three is the antagonist of the story who so far counteracts all points made by Juror eight. Juror three is portrayed by the author as the unspoken leader of the guilty group as shown by his actions and substantial involvement in the plot so far. Juror three is a character who doesn’t take well to the disagreements of his fellow jurors; he is outraged at the eighth Juror when he initially stands up against everyone. Juror eight doesn’t like to be questioned, and his biased opinions become apparent when he opens up about his shaky relationship with his son. Juror three is prejudice against the defendant due to his preconceived notions that are derived from his tenuous relationship with his son.
It is unequivocal that 12 Angry men impart the notion that ‘reasonable doubt’ is an ominous part of America’s judicial system, as it is of a more significant concern than the truth. The wide variety of symbolic techniques show how Rose supports the ‘not guilty’ verdict and his view of ‘reasonable doubt’ if applied meticulously and insightfully, can expose personals aspects and agendas that may conspire that affect a fair trial. Rose reveals he is less concerned about the guilt or innocence of the accused but that a vote of ‘reasonable doubt’ is far better than wrongly putting an innocent man to the electric chair and acts as a safeguard in the justice system.
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