“12 Angry Men” Essay
The movie “12 Angry Men” focuses on a jury’s decision on a capital murder case. A 12-man jury is sent to begin decisions on the first-degree murder trial of an 18-year-old Latino accused of stabbing his father to death, where a guilty verdict means an automatic death sentence. The case appears to be open-and-shut: The defendant has a weak alibi; a knife he claimed to have lost is found at the murder scene; and several witnesses either heard screaming, saw the killing or the boy fleeing the scene. Eleven of the jurors immediately vote guilty; only Juror No. 8 (Mr. Davis) casts a not guilty vote. At first Mr. Davis’ bases his vote more so for the sake of discussion after all, the jurors must believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. As the movie unfolds, the story quickly becomes a study of the jurors’ complex personalities and how they deal with argumentation within groups and critical thinking. This allows Mr. Davis to try and convince the other jury members that the defendant might not be guilty by using cooperative argumentation, claim, evidence, warrant, facts, etc.
In the beginning of the movie a jury is assembled to decide the fate of an 18 year old boy who has been charged with murdering his father. The jury assembles into a hot stuffy room where they can argue about whether the boy is guilty or not. Argumentation is used in the jury, where they must use critical thinking to advocate proposals, examine ideas, and influence one another to come to a judgment on the case. Juror No. 8 Mr. Davis tries to use cooperative argumentation which is when a group interacts with one another and make the best assessment or decision on a problem and in this case it is the decision on whether the 18 year old boy should be put to death or not. Mr. Davis has to be the first on to use critical thinking in where you analyze and evaluate what you have read, seen, or heard to arrive at a justified conclusion or decision.
In the beginning of the movie Mr. Davis’s claim which is his position on the case is that the boy might not be guilty and that he wants to discuss it with the other jurors. The other jurors get annoyed with Mr. Davis because they do not want to stay and discuss the case and they can’t leave without all of them consenting to one side. But despite all that Mr. Davis starts to look through the evidence presented on the case, and he starts to rationalize and think critically of the presented information. He then starts using warrant which is basically asking questions. He asks about how the evidence given was faulty and wasn’t enough to back the claim that the 18 year old killed his father. Mr. Davis starts to sway the idea that the boy is guilty and he gets the other jurors to start agreeing with him with his claim, rethinking of the evidence, and warrant.
In the middle of the 2nd half of the movie, Mr. Davis talks about the facts that are presented to them after discussing the case for a couple hours. A fact is the verifiable observation, experience, or event basically something that is known to be true. He says that facts don’t line up with the story and he talks about how the old man with a leg problem could never had made it to the door to see who was running or hear the body hit the floor because of the train, he also brings up the point that the woman across the street could not have seen who killed who due to the fact that she did not have her glasses on. After he lays out all the facts many of the jurors are convinced that the 18 year old was not guilty but a few of the jurors with their own opinion which is a personal conclusion on a matter, still refuse to admit that the boy is not guilty. But after the main juror Mr. Davis goes through the procedure of presenting his argument all together, 1st states his claim, 2nd supports his claim, 3rd provides reasoning, and lastly he summarizes his argument.
In conclusion the rest of the jury which in the beginning said the boy was guilty was convinced by Mr. Davis’s claim, evidence, warrant, critical thinking, and cooperative group argumentation at the end to all agree that the 18 year old was not guilty. Mr. Davis uses many of the ideas that are presented in chapter 10 of the textbook working in groups by Isa N. Engleberg and Dianna R. Wynn. Chapter 10 was focused primarily on critical thinking and argumentation in groups which is basically what a jury has to do when they agree on the verdict of guilty or not guilty. So the movie is what basically is presented throughout chapter 10 through group argumentation and critical thinking skills within groups.