Angry Men Despite the Fact essay
- Length: 7 pages
- Subject: Business - Law
- Type: essay
- Paper: #92417437
Excerpt from essay :
We can talk here forever, it's all the same thing." He was anxious to get to a verdict because he had a baseball game to attend that evening. He briefly repeated some of the arguments given in court, but none which would indicate that the boy was a murderer, simply a child who had gotten into some trouble during his life.
De-individuation can be seen most clearly in the film when the 12 jurors took their first vote. The foreman asked the group to raise their hand if they believed the boy was guilty. Six jurors raised their hand instantly, sure of their beliefs. The remaining jurors look around the room and one by one raised their hand. The only person who did not vote guilty was Juror #8 (Henry Fonda). You could see the uncertainty of the last ones to vote by the hesitant looks on their faces and the length of time it took them to raise their hands. This was most prominently seen by Juror #9 (Joseph Sweeney) who was the last one to vote. He looked nervous and his hand shook slightly as he raised it in favour of a guilty verdict. He was also the first one to change his vote to not guilty, further illustrating the fact that he did not believe without a doubt that the boy was guilty; but rather, was conforming to the group's beliefs.
Evidence of groupthink can be seen throughout the beginning of the movie when the majority of the jurors believed the boy was guilty. The decision to go around the table to share their reasons for their guilty vote was intended to convince Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) that the majority opinion was the correct opinion. However, when Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) tried to give his reasons for why he was not so sure the boy was guilty, the others laughed at him or started playing games to ignore him all together. In fact, he presented a number of very convincing points in favour of the boy's innocence, yet the others made statements to disregard his ideas. For example, one juror yelled, "why is that important!" concerning a fact that clearly deserved further investigation. A number of other jurors brought up points presented in court as if they were undeniable facts, and disregarded the arguments of Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) as if they had no merit at all. For example, Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) presented a knife that he bought in the boy's neighbourhood that looked exactly like the knife used in the murder. This was a major piece of evidence because the boy owned the same knife and it was said to be a very rare design. The fact that Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) was able to buy the same knife indicated that it was not as rare as it was made to seem in court. Juror #3 (Lee J. Cobb) said angrily, "Oh, listen, I don't see what all this business about the knife got to do with anything. Someone saw the kid stab his father, what more do we need… so lets get done and get out of here!." Furthermore, when one juror began to sway in the direction of not guilty, Juror #11 (Ed Begley) yelled, "Look, you voted not guilty, whose side are you on?." It seems that Juror #11 (Ed Begley), along with the majority of the jurors, were so determined to reach a quick consensus that they were ignoring any facts or ideas that would have prevented them from reaching that goal.
An example of evaluation apprehension can be seen after the jurors took their first vote and went around the table to defend their reasons for their vote. Juror #2 (John Fiedler) began to ramble and could not come up with a comprehensible reason for his vote. However, later in the movie we find out that he is quite an intelligent man. Thus, his inability to communicate his thoughts may have resulted from an increased state of arousal caused by felling as though he was being evaluated by the other jurors.
Overall, the group process seemed quite typical. Some people were sure that the boy was guilty and stood their grounds. Others were followers and went along with the majority. In the beginning only one went against the group, which is a difficult thing to do, but this encouraged others to act on their true feelings and vote not guilty. Frustration led to arguments, which lead to conflict resolution and problem solving techniques. The unique personalities and backgrounds of each juror impacted their decisions and behaviours, and as the jurors began to learn more about each other they started to better understand each other's motives. As the movie progressed and the majority began to wane, the jurors began thinking more independently and less as a group. Furthermore, they started to realize that they did not actually believe the boy was guilty, but rather, were being impacted by their own prejudices. Resistance was encountered on both sides and eventually a consensus was reached.
I believe the group was quite effective. Despite the angry individuals and the continuous arguments, the group ultimately reached a verdict. Their decision was a matter of life and death; thus, it would be expected that the processes would not be a smooth one. Nevertheless, the most resistant man, Juror #3 (Lee J. Cobb), ultimately broke down and voted not guilty. The conflict among the group members made him see that he was not voting guilty because he truly believed the boy had…