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Use of Persuasive Argument in 12 Angry Men Essay

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The movie “12 Angry Men” examines the dynamics at play in a United States jury room in the 1950’s. It revolves around the opinions and mindsets of twelve diverse characters that are tasked with pronouncing the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of patricide. The extraordinary element is that their finding will determine his life or death. This play was made into a movie in 1957, produced by Henry Fonda who played the lead role, Juror #8, and Reginald Rose who wrote the original screenplay. This essay will explore some of the critical thinking elements found within the context of this movie, and will show that rational reason and logic when used effectively can overcome the mostly ineffective rush to judgment that can be prevalent in a population. The juror that seemed interesting is Juror #8, who was played by Henry Fonda. Juror #8, or Davis, is an architect, the first dissenter and protagonist in the film. He was the first one to declare that the young man was innocent and he managed to convince the other jurors to see his point of view. Durkheim states that when we respond to deviance, it brings people together (Macionis, 2013, p. 159). We affirm the moral ties that bind us together, which was seen in the movie. At first, almost all of the jurors were so bent on convicting the young man based on their feelings, but they then started to analyze the facts and they came together to make their final decision.
Within the movie, it can be seen that persuasive argument is employed by one single juror to help sway the majority to believe his analysis of the evidence presented. He sets on a course to reach out to each juror and improve their thinking by reasonable and justified persuasion. There were three points raised in the tri...


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... believed in the innocence of the young man and convinced the others to view the evidence and examine the true events that occurred. He struggled with the other jurors because he became the deviant one in the group, not willing to follow along with the rest. His reasoning and his need to examine things prevailed because one by one, the jurors started to see his perspective and they voted not guilty. Some jurors were not convinced, no matter how much evidence was there, especially Juror #3. His issues with his son affected his decision-making but in the end, he only examined the evidence and concluded that the young man was not guilty.



Works Cited

Macionis, John J.. Society: the basics. 12th ed., Annotated instructor's ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2013. Print.

Twelve Angry Men. Dir. Sidney Lumet. Perf. Henry Fonda; Martin Balsam. s.n., 1957. DVD.



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