- April 19, 2020
“How Juror 8 “turns” his fellow jurors in 12 Angry Men.”
“HowJuror 8 "turns" his fellow jurors in 12 Angry Men.”
Inmost cases, the jury usually has that role of coming up with averdict in a court. Their decision, for this reason, is very criticaltowards each and every case they handle. But, at times, the casecould be too direct that it would require no arguments at all. Othertimes, however, there could be hidden issues between the lines and itwould demand that they sit and deliberate matters, through going overevery statement critically in order to get the truth. If they don’t,they might end up sending an innocent person to prison or his deathor freeing a criminal. Some members of the jury could be troublesome,not wanting to listen to others’ point of view. The issue at handis for the person with a strong argument to try convincing the restof the members that he has a point, which could bring the case to aconclusion.
Forthe purpose of this discussion, I will use citations from the movie,Twelve Angry Men, 1957.
Juroreight is the only person who thinks the accused is not guilty.(8:58)When the discussions begin, Juror eight is at a window lost inthought that he does not hear the foreman asking the members of thepanel to sit according to their numbers. His facial expression ishowever so composed. The rule is for the juror to vote twelve to zerofor it to pass as guilty. He goes to sit down and voted not guilty,alone in the midst of all the other juror. At that time, he got achance to support his argument, and try to find the truth as hewanted.
Hisfirst argument is that the kid in question has grown up in a roughneighborhood, and they need to cut him some slack. (10:56). He goesahead to say that the burden of proving anything is on the prosecutoralone. Juror Ten had earlier supported the idea of people born fromthat area always lie. When giving his opinion, he supports the ladyin a different room, who says she saw the killing happening. “I’dlike to ask you something. You don’t believe the boy’s story, howcomes you believe the woman’s? She’s one of them too, isn’tshe?” (14:08). Juror eight uses, rhetorical questions to counterthis argument. Additionally, Juror eight also says that the boy inquestion has been hit so many times such that two slaps wouldn’t beenough motive for him to kill his father(15:24).
Heargues that there are only two witnesses for the case, and goes on todeliberate if they could be wrong. It is kind of interesting how heavoids conflicts by giving direct answers, instead of arguing outlike the rest of the people probably having learned from being anarchitect. When they bring up the issue of the knife and how the boypurchased it, juror eight brings out his knife, which he had boughtthe previous night. It is similar in every way to that in question,and he says it is found in the neighborhood at six dollars (22:25).The argument is so heated up that he decides they should take asecret vote. If the eleven vote guilty, then he’d stop arguing. Thelook on his face is so heartbreaking since he looks like he’s onthe edge of despair (23:50). He almost has that look of defeat onhim. Everyone should see how relief floods his face when on thesecond last paper there comes the not guilty note (25:17). It isfrom juror nine, who in spite of not believing that the boy is notguilty, respects the decision of juror eight in trying to bring outhis points amid eleven opposers. Notably, this gives juror eight anopportunity to explain himself and prove his points.
Inthe bathroom, after taking a break, juror eight has to face somethingdisturbing. One of the jurors asks him what would happen if hemanaged to convince the entire juror that the boy is innocent. Whatif the boy was guilty? Juror eight stands alone for a whilecontemplating the issue. It seems to have a tremendous effect on him.Nevertheless, he has to stand for what he believes now, doesn’t he?The problems about the two witnesses, the old man, and the woman onthe other side don’t seem right to him. He moves around the roomtrying to get his point through. He uses his hand in trying to insiston the point that the train is too loud to hear any sound. It alsotakes a long time to cross, making it hard to hear the shouts fromthe neighboring house. He closes his eyes visualizing the old mansaying that he heard the boy say he would kill his father (32:29). Hegoes on to show the contradiction between the two parties. The oldman said the body hit the floor one second later, the woman, on theother hand, says she saw the entire thing unfold, yet the trainpasses by her window in ten seconds. His eyes are wide open trying todrive the point home and, he eventually leaned in. His voice riseswhen he attempts to show this significant difference.
Hegoes ahead to try to prove that saying, “I’ll kill you,”doesn’t necessarily mean that he would kill anyone. It isinteresting to see the tenth juror say that the boy from the slumcannot speak proper English, only for him to be corrected. “Hedoesn`t even speak good English” “He doesn’t” this leads tothe fifth juror changing his stand to not guilty. The next questionis why he came home after committing the crime. This brings acontroversy. If the boy was in a panic, would he come back? If theboy heard the woman across the street screaming, it was hard to comeback. Juror eight argues his point, but he is still sited and verycomposed, unlike his fellows who shout and pace around (39:22).Eventually, the Eleventh Juror moves to support the not guilty side(40:15).
Duringhis testimony, the old man says that he ran to the door and saw thekid running down the stairs (41:08). This brings on a big issue. Thisman had a bad leg and was dragging it as he walked into thecourtroom. So, how possible was it that he ran to the door to see theboy running down the stairs? (41:28). As a result, this made thembring the house layout to see how long it’d take him to reach thedoor. He claimed to use fifteen seconds. The eighth juror does anactual show off how long it’d take him to reach the door. (43:15).He gives commands on how things should go being given the chairanother calculating the time (44:00) the time is found to be fortyseconds (44:40). His expression is that of pure detest when one ofthe jurors turns out to be an executioner hence, the reason for himwanting the boy dead (45:30). He brings on the argument, which getsthe juror to shout that he’d kill the eighth juror (45:39). This isan interesting turn of events as the eighth juror asks “You don’treally mean that, do you?”(45:40). Notably, this clears the partwhere they were arguing about a person, suggesting murder when hesays he’ll kill someone. There is a lot of amusement on the face ofthe second juror as he says these words (45:45).
Thereis a lot of tension in the room, which is soon cleared with a joke.Another vote is taken, and it stands at six to six. The room is sotensed at this point. There is the issue of the boy not rememberingthe movie he watched, or the scenes. The eighth juror argues that hecouldn’t remember these things since he was under great pressurefrom the arguments with his father. When one of the jurors isquestioned, it appears that he forgot some things he did a past fewdays, and he was not under pressure or stress (55:50). This is toprove that he could have indeed forgotten due to stress.
Subsequently,the issue of plunging the knife into the chest comes up. For anaverage person, it was entirely possible. As shown by another juror,this was not feasible for an individual used to this kind of knife.For this reason, he wouldn’t have made the same kind ofinflictions like the one on the victim’s chest. (57:30). A vote isthen taken. This time, there is a sign of home on the face of theeighth juror. The vote goes up to nine to three. There comes theissue of the woman across the street. The eighth juror has anexpression of delight at the disgust of the third juror. It isrealized that the woman has an action of rubbing her nose all thetime, due to wearing eyeglasses. It is weird how a person usingglasses could see across the street at night, and perceive everythingin darkness. Juror three does not want to admit it, though he can seethe lines placed in front of him quite clearly. Eventually, the voterests at 12 zero for not guilty.
Accordingto me, the eighth juror is a very wise person. He does not go alongwith what everyone says just for the sake of ending the discussion.He is after justice. He, however, doesn’t try to make himself asthe know it all individual. He says it’s just a possibility. Hemaintains his calm and proves his point peacefully. Ultimately, thisis how he makes the vote to change to his favor, thus saving the lifeof a poor innocent boy. Accordingly, this could be an indication ofhow people from the poorer states are treated. They have no chance todefend themselves and end up being thrown in prison for no reasonwhatsoever. The eight juror is a person to be admired and emulated inthe legal system.
12Angry Men.Dir. Sidney Lumet. Prod. Henry Fonda and Reginald Rose. By ReginaldRose and Keyon Hopkins. Perf. Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, JohnFiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E. G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns,Jack Warden, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, Jiri Voskovec, and MarkRodgers, United Artists Corp., 1956
Gale,Cengage L. AStudy Guide for Rose Reginald’s Twelve Angry Men. Farmington Hills: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016. Internet Source.
Parks,Gregory, and Matthew W. Hughey.12Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today.New York: New Press, 2010. Internet Source.
Rose,Reginald.Twelve Angry Men.Place of publication not identified: Methuen, 2016. Print.