Reviewing Sidney Lumet’s Movie 12 Angry Men

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The movie “12 Angry Men” involve contentious decision making by the jury. A chamber of the jurors is expected to deliver judgment. A Puerto Rican boy is brought before the jury for killing his father with a switchblade knife. The case experienced mixed reactions on whether the boy was guilty or not guilty. At the starting of the film, eleven of the jurors thought and believed the boy murdered his father and analyzed their evidence of the trial, while one jury believed the boy was not guilty (12 Angry Men: 1957). The eleven jurors voted the boy was guilty, but after a heated debate, they moved to a not-guilty decision. The jury decisions were influenced by argumentation. This paper will analyze how argumentation influenced the juror decision making in the “12 Angry Men.”

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The 12 jurors could not conform. People fit into one agreement when they believe in one definition of a continuous issue. In the "Twelve Angry Men," the jurors are influenced by the ambiguity of the case; how the boy killed his father with a switchblade knife, the time constraints and each juror knowledge of the matter at hand. It is shown in the starting of the film whereby a heated argument is precluded by an initial vote. Only one jury voted not guilty for the boy (Rose, 2016). This vote was inclined due to a panic of seeming deviant. Indeed, as the jurors cast their first vote, there is hesitancy of those who voted guilty. What we can see here is that there is weak conviction influenced by conformity. Without conformity, arguments arise as each individual attempt to defend his or her position. In this case, the volatile man argues that the boy is, of course, guilty after the result of the votes, while Henry Fonda’s claims that “there is always has to be one.” These two men portray the power of conformity to convince the other jurors that a guilty vote is valid.

Time constraints influenced the decision making of the juror. Argumentation in the justice system is grounded on the time constraints. As such, the perceived force upon a jury and by a judge could influence the jury process and build argumentation, which influences the decision making. Regarding timeliness of decision is a critical factor that affects the “12 Angry Men.” The arguments that develop by the jury is as a result of time constraints, which is further laid upon their wishes and needs. Cleary, many of the jurors, in this case, highlights their work and other aspects of the life Jury obligation hinders their life’s growth, creating an undefined time constraint. For example, the sickly man claims that he has three stations to attend, while another jurors claim that he have a ticket to a Yankees game (Rose, 2016). So, every jury put much pressure on the time constraints. It's no doubt that time constraints limited the heated debate concerning the boy’s killing and perhaps why many jurors voted guilty.

Augmentation led to attitude change and persuasion. Persuasion plays a key role in the film the "12 Angry Men." The central path to persuasion is the process by which an individual thinks about something and is affected by the power of the argument. In the "12 Angry Men," Fonda changes his mind and cast his votes as ‘not guilty' in a well thoughtful manner. He insists on his points through facts and ultimately influences the other jurors. Similarly, the businessman uses his tolerant nature to build a cogent claim grounded on evidence. He admires Fonda trial to utilize the central course to persuasion. The path of persuasion is featured by artificial prompts surrounding the claims rather than the claim’s realistic validity. For example, the sickly man persuades the other jurors to interpret an attitude grounded on ethnic and racial prompts (Rose, 2016). He further persuades the jurors to sentence the man because he is an African-Americans. He has a negative attitude toward the African-American. The gentleman jurors who care about the fate of the accused boy are focused on justice and are engaged in the debate to the central idea. This is shown through Fonda’s character who convey a competence. He believes in justice and attempts to persuade other jurors that the boy is not guilty. So, the route and the attitude taken by each juror in the argument influence their decision making concerning the boy’s case.

Group argumentation guided the jurors to commit a guilty verdict. Drawing from Waller et al. (2013), group augmentation results in groupthink where members of the group value unanimity at the expense of rational decision and fail to insufficient consider options. Group thinking is clearly seen in the film when Juror8 challenges the discussion and manipulates it for his objectives. Juror 8 does not believe in the boy's tale but feel that the boy is entitled to sufficient deliberations. The other Juror decides unanimously to persuade Juror 8 that the boy is guilty. The argument in the jury room becomes hot as each jury tries to deliver his claim using logics and evidence. However, Juror 8 is not convinced and rejects others juror's comments. In the end, Juror 8 engages with the other Juror's in joint problem solving and try to create relationships (Sunstein, 2007). So, the end outcome of all the jurors is as a result of cooperation, which was spearheaded by the juror’s arguments.

In analyzing the 12 Angry Men, augmentation is the base for the juror's verdict. The argument in the jury room led to the conclusion of the verdict. Without the augmentation process, the decision of the jurors would not have been justified because not logical, and evidence was present. It is clear that the justice system is marked by the heated discussion involving arguments, persuasion, change of attitude, group thinking and so on. The outcome of a court proceeding is based on all these aspects in the delivery of justice. It is no doubt that argumentation in the 12 Angry Men guided or influenced the decision making of the Jurors.

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