Twelve Angry Men Analysis Essay
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Twelve Angry Men Analysis Paper
Twelve Angry Men Analysis: Introduction
Twelve Angry Men was directed by Sidney Lumet in 1957. The movie concentrates on jury members' decision about a boy who is accused of killing his father with a switch knife, and his life depends on the decision of the jury. According to the United States laws, the decision can only be valid with an agreed decision of twelve jury members. After the trial, jury members go to a meeting room, and many of them think that it will be a quick decision to make. However, Davis votes not guilty. Therefore, they have to stay in that room and discuss the details of the case despite their lack of interest. This paper focuses on analyzing group discussion, which is dramatized in the movie. It is aimed to explain five topics which are leadership, participation, communication environment, conflict, and argumentation of the group. There is not any appointed leader to the group, but Davis and Mr. Foreman lead others to make an agreed decision, and under Mr. Foreman's leadership, eleven jury members agree on a guilty verdict without any discussion. At first, it seems that there is an open communication environment and there is not any conflict and argumentation in the group, but when Davis tells his opinion, communication environment changes, conflicts, and arguments start, and jury members are forced to participate in the discussion before making the final decision. During the discussion, they confute the accuracy of the evidence and witnesses statements, and they vote not guilty.
Mr. Foreman is a coach and jury number one. So that he takes the responsibility to organize the group discussion, he suggests that jury members should sit according to their numbers. One can address that his leadership style can be explained by a participative theory which is based on taking decisions together (“Western Governors,” 2021). In other words, he manages the group discussion, but he does not try to persuade them to vote according to his opinion. Therefore, group members are involved in the decision-making process.
On the other hand, Davis's leadership can be explained by the great men theory because he uses his skills to lead the jury to discuss every aspect of the case. Even though his opinion is against their vote, he manages to change their decisions one by one. One can highlight that he has a natural talent to lead people. For instance, at first, he does not take leadership responsibility as he thinks that some members can vote not guilty, and they will discuss the matter from bottom to top. When nobody except him votes not guilty, he is forced to take responsibility to change their minds and discuss the case as he knows that a young boy's life depends on their decision. After all, that kid deserves a well-discussed decision.
As mentioned earlier, with Davis's vote, communication climate changes and conflicts reveal, and Mr. Foreman suggests that jury members should defend their vote according to their numbers to persuade Davis. Also, one of the members has a major temper, and he gets angry so easily because he does not want to stay in that room any longer, and some people agree with him. For instance, when everyone is supposed to tell their opinion, he interrupts their words and disrupts the speaking order. In other words, he creates problems and raises his voice to other members constantly. However, Davis stays calm against him and tries to encourage others to participate until they realize the case evidence may not be true.
The last two lines of the poem address colonists. Wheatley writes, "Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain, / May be refin’d, and join the angelic train" (18). She reminds those who believe black people are beyond salvation, that all people need to be "refin'd and join th'," regardless of their race. Their black skin color does not keep them from becoming a part of the "angelic train," which is thought to be only possible for evangelists. Light or darkness, a fundamentally and essentially different type of light or darkness that can be understood on earth, has some real spiritual or aesthetic clarity only after the human experience has been "refined" into "the' angelic" or divine (Levernier).
The communication environment is tense because some people yell at each other, and they do not respect others who have a different opinion than themselves. Thus, they think that they will change Davis and others' minds by raising their voice and telling their opinion. After all, they are ready to fight and insult others, which is not the best communication style in group discussions. However, Davis and others try everything in their power to question the accuracy of evidence by basing them on their observations. For example, one of the witnesses claims that he heard the boy screaming to his father, and one second later, the body hits the floor. He runs to the door and sees that the boy goes down to the stairs in a hurry. However, the old man has a limping leg, which makes it impossible for him to walk his doorway within 20 seconds (“United Artists Corp,” 1957). Therefore, Davis measures the steps he must have been taken, and he imitates his steps, and it takes 40 seconds long.
There is a single major conflict between members; one side claims that the boy is guilty, and the other side argues that he is not. However, many people have a prejudice against him because he lives in the ghetto, and people who live there usually become criminals. They trust the witnesses’ statements so much, and they do not question their accuracy. Also, the angry jury member has a personal problem with his boy, and he thinks that every boy at that age can commit crimes. However, the conflict resolves by confuting the evidence of the case.
At the beginning of the movie, only Davis thoroughly evaluates the accuracy of evidence. Thus, he knows that there is something doubtful about the case, and therefore, he evaluates other jury members' arguments, and then he tries to confute those arguments one by one. Eventually, he gains support, and others understand that their first opinion might be wrong as their arguments are confuted by observations and deep analysis.
In the second stanza, which is shorter than any other, Wheatley implies there is more to God's creation than people see on the earth. "Through all the heav’ns what beauteous dies are spread! / But the west glories in the deepest red: / So may our breasts with ev’ry virtue glow, / The living temples of our God below!" (Wheatley, lines 7-10). Wheatley admires the beauty of the "dies," which is used to indicate the colors of the earth. But she also implies there are more; this picture is just an indicator of what lies ahead. Wheatley reminds her readers that the glow of virtue that fills their hearts is just a glimpse of the far greater illumination that comes from God (Cengage Learning Gale).
In the third stanza, the writer wants to show her gratitude and serve God. "Fill’d with the praise of him who gives the light" (Wheatley line 11). The first line of the stanza denotes that the writer preaches God for his beauty and power. "And draws the sable curtains of the night" (Wheatley line 12). This second line continues by saying that God can also take away the light. By using the word "sable" when referring to the night is her way of saying that both the light (white) and the sable (black) are equally beautiful because God creates both.
Twelve Angry Men Analysis: Conclusion
Consequently, this paper focuses on analyzing Twelve Angry Men, which was directed by Sidney Lumet in 1957. The primary goal of this paper is to analyze five topics which are leadership, participation, communication climate, conflict, and argumentation of the group. There is not any appointed leader to the group, but Davis and Mr. Foreman lead others to make an agreed decision. More specifically, Davis wants to discuss the case thoroughly before sending the boy to death. Therefore, he takes leadership responsibility to question the accuracy of the truths. At the beginning of the movie, there is an open communication environment, and there is no conflict and argumentation in the group. However, when Davis tells his opinion, the communication environment changes, conflicts and arguments start, and jury members are forced to participate in the discussion before making the final decision. During the discussion, they confute the accuracy of the evidence and witnesses statements, and they vote not guilty.
United Artists Corp. (1957). 12 Angry men. United States.
Western Governors University. (2021, March 23). Leadership Theories and Styles. Western Governors University. https://wgu.edu/blog/leadership-theories-styles2004.html.
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