Fallacious Arguments in 12 Angry Men

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 588 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 588|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Ad Hominem
  2. Appeal to Emotion
  3. False Dilemma
  4. Impact on Decision-Making
  5. Conclusion

12 Angry Men, a 1957 film directed by Sidney Lumet, is a powerful depiction of the American legal system and the dynamics of a jury deliberation. The film focuses on twelve jurors who are tasked with reaching a unanimous decision in a murder trial. Throughout the film, the jurors engage in various arguments and debates, some of which are fallacious in nature. This essay will analyze the fallacious arguments in 12 Angry Men, examining the impact of these fallacies on the decision-making process and the overall themes of the film.

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Ad Hominem

One of the most prevalent fallacies in 12 Angry Men is ad hominem, which involves attacking the character of a person instead of addressing the substance of their argument. Juror #3, for example, repeatedly resorts to ad hominem attacks against Juror #5, who comes from a similar background to the defendant. Juror #3's bias against the defendant leads him to attack Juror #5's credibility and intelligence, rather than engaging with the evidence presented in the case. This fallacious argument serves to highlight the personal biases and prejudices that can cloud judgment in the deliberation process.

Appeal to Emotion

Another fallacy present in the film is the appeal to emotion, which involves manipulating the emotions of the audience to win an argument. Juror #10, for instance, appeals to the other jurors' emotions by making racist remarks about the defendant and his background. He attempts to sway the jury by playing on their fears and prejudices, rather than presenting rational and logical arguments based on the evidence. This fallacious approach not only undermines the integrity of the deliberation process but also exposes the underlying prejudices and biases that can influence decision-making in a jury setting.

False Dilemma

The false dilemma fallacy is also evident in 12 Angry Men, as several jurors present the case as a binary choice between guilt and innocence, with no room for nuance or uncertainty. Juror #8, the protagonist of the film, challenges this false dilemma by introducing the possibility of reasonable doubt. He argues that the jury should not rush to a hasty decision based on assumptions and biases, but rather consider the complexity of the case and the potential for errors in the legal process. This fallacious argument serves as a commentary on the limitations of a black-and-white approach to justice and the importance of critical thinking in the face of uncertainty.

Impact on Decision-Making

The prevalence of fallacious arguments in 12 Angry Men has a significant impact on the decision-making process of the jury. The film illustrates how personal biases, prejudices, and emotional manipulation can cloud judgment and hinder the pursuit of justice. However, it also highlights the potential for critical thinking and rational discourse to challenge these fallacies and ultimately lead to a more just and equitable outcome. By exposing the flaws in the deliberation process, the film encourages viewers to critically examine their own biases and prejudices, and to engage in rational and evidence-based decision-making.

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In conclusion, 12 Angry Men is a compelling exploration of the dynamics of a jury deliberation, and the prevalence of fallacious arguments in the film serves to highlight the challenges and complexities of reaching a fair and just verdict. The film reminds us of the importance of critical thinking, rational discourse, and the ability to challenge personal biases and prejudices in the pursuit of justice. By analyzing the fallacies present in the film, we gain a deeper understanding of the impact of these fallacies on decision-making and the overall themes of the film.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Fallacious Arguments in 12 Angry Men. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from
“Fallacious Arguments in 12 Angry Men.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Fallacious Arguments in 12 Angry Men. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2024].
Fallacious Arguments in 12 Angry Men [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 May 29]. Available from:
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