12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose Analysis

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12 Angry Men, by the American playwright Reginald Rose, was originally written for television, and it was broadcast live on CBS’s in 1954 (12 Angry Men, n. d. ). In 1957, Rose wrote the screenplay, which he co-produced with the actor Henry Fonda (12 Angry Men, n. d. ). The play was originally inspired by Rose’s own experience on a jury for a murder case in New York, New York. Rose did not want to serve as a juror for the case, however he said “the moment I walked into the courtroom … and found myself facing a strange man whose fate was suddenly more or less in my hands, my entire attitude changed” (12 Angry Men, n. . ). Rose wrote the drama based on his own experience and what was produced was an exciting and interesting play that investigates human nature and the relationships of group dynamics. The movie sets up a conflict by giving the group of 12 men a task, which was to determine the fate of a young man, who had supposedly killed his father. The task is important and the life of a person is dependent on their decision. The members of the group had two opposing views; guilty or not guilty. Eleven members of the group initially voted “guilty,” while juror 8 voted “not-guilty. There is immediate response and pressure from some of the other jury members for Juror 8 to change his mind, due to him being the only one to vote differently. Juror 10 immediately shouted, “Boy-oh-boy! There’s always one”(Lumet, 1957). At this point in the movie the members start to develop their own roles in group dynamics; by being open to seeking information, giving opinions, criticizing the other members, attempting to mediate, dominating the group by using aggression or by refusing to participate until pressured by the other group members.

The preconceived notions and irrational ideas of the group members become apparent, showing that it is impossible to bring your own issues to a group and how that can affect the group dynamic. The most apparent being beliefs of prejudice. “While, conspicuously, the race of the accused is never certain, we do understand that he is a minority of some sort (in the 1957 film, the actor playing the accused was Italian), and this quickly becomes a heated issue among the jurors, especially for 9th Juror, who refers to the accused as ‘one of them’ “(12 Angry Men, n. . ). There was also evidence of prejudice due to the age of the defendant for Juror 3, due to the issues that that man had with his estranged son. There was also an example of reverse prejudice when Juror 8 sympathized with the defendant due to his upbringing (12 Angry Men, n. d. ). Juror 8, slowly but surely convinces every juror to change his vote, when he analyzes the information that is talked about concerning the trial. Not every vote changed due actual facts concerning the trial, but when their own belief system was challenged.

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The audience has a sense that what is happening is the right thing to do and justice prevails, however nobody is ever sure of this fact. “At the end of the play, there is a chilling reversal, as all of the jurors switch their vote to “not guilty,” except for 3rd Juror. At which point 8th Juror points out, “It’s eleven to one… you’re alone” (12 Angry Men, n. d. ). The movie shows how group dynamics can be affected by race, socioeconomic standing, age, and cultural aspects. The movie does not explore the dynamics of different sexes in a group dynamic, however the “all-male embeds the patriarchy of the times” (12 Angry Men, n. . ). Bruce Tuckman discusses the formation of groups in four steps; forming, storming, norming and performing (Beebe, 2012). The jury was not a self-directed group, because they were chosen by another group of people and even though they had already spent a great deal of time together, their group dynamics did not form until they went to the jury room to deliberate. Upon the first entry into the jury room, the members seemed nervous and unsure of how to proceed. Juror one takes on the leader of foreman and starts to get everyone together. The group starts to form and get started on their task.

The storming stage begins immediately after the first vote is taken and the group realizes that their task isn’t going to be as simple as most of the members initially anticipated. The individual needs of the members start to show, for instance, Juror 7 makes it clear to the members that he is not interested in the process, but to go to a baseball game. The third step is norming and that is where the group decides to talk about their differences and the compromising and decision making begins. The members begin to listen, analyze and discuss their belief systems and that is when the members begin to change their votes.

Some members are resistant and try to use aggression, manipulation, sympathy and rationalization to change the opinion of others to their own (Beebe, 2012). Tuckman, in collaboration with Mary Ann Jensen updated the model with adding the step of adjourning. “Adjourning involves dissolution. It entails the termination of roles, the completion of tasks and reduction of dependency” (Forsyth, 1990). The adjourning of the group started to happen when the last 3 jurors changed their minds and the entire power of the jurors transferred to juror 8 and the final decision was apparent.

The room was quickly adjourned, with the last step in the play being juror 9 making the only introduction of names in the play to Juror 8, which was an attempt to connect on a more personal level, giving the very stressful process they had all just been through. Juror 8, being a forgotten elderly man, was happy with his contribution to the process and felt needed and important for the first time, in probably a long time. The analysis of the characters that made up the group are as follows: (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 1/ForemanJuror 1 was a teacher and coach.

He took on the job of foreman and attempted to keep the group focused and ensure that all members were heard. He had the group task of being the procedural technician. He took on the role of the compromiser and attempted to resolve conflict within the group. He portrayed himself as a simple man, attempting to do a difficult job. Staying true to his talents, he energized the group (Lumet, 1957). Juror 1 had a compromise conflict-management style, due to the fact that he was attempting to not only meet the needs of the jurors, but also uphold justice (Beebe, 2012). Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 2Juror 2 was a man with little self-worth and had difficulty making his own decisions. He had the role of opinion seeker in the group task roles. His opinion would change with the flow of the group and depending on who was talking. He was a follower and was not listened to or taken seriously by the other jurors (Lumet, 1957). Juror 2 had an accommodation conflict-management style because he was attempting to be liked and accepted by the other jurors (Beebe, 2012). | | (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 3Juror 3 was a bully and the angriest of the 12 jurors.

His motivation was clear throughout the movie, he wanted revenge. He wanted somebody to pay for what he perceived that his son had done to him. He was motivated by guilt, which translated to anger. The other jurors that it even possible that he might stab another member of the jury. His decline was an emotional breakdown, more than him changing his mind about his vote. He attempted to do several roles in the group, such as evaluating and criticizing, opinion giver, and information giver. However, due to his communication style, he was not effective in any of these roles.

He attempted to dominate the group by using his loud voice and physical presence (Lumet, 1957). Juror 3 had a competition conflict-management style because he had little concern for anyone else’s needs but his own, it was important for him to insert his power over another person, which was the other jurors and the defendant (Beebe, 2012). (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 4Juror 4 appeared to be an educated man who was putting a great deal of thought and introspection into the task. He was not very verbal, but did take on the role of evaluator and critic for the group.

He could have been an effective standard setter for the group, however, he chose to remain quiet (Lumet, 1957). Juror 4 had a collaboration conflict-management style, due to the fact that he wanted to do the right thing and avoid the negativity of the behavior of the other jury members (Beebe, 2012). | | (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 5Juror 5 had the most in common with the defendant, being from the same neighborhood and having a similar life path. He had a great deal of restraint and patience dealing with the other members of the jury, who showed prejudice and racism.

He had the role of elaborator in the group and when he did speak up, his input was insightful and showed a wiliness to compromise. He was a help seeker and had self-worth issues in the group dynamic (Lumet, 1957). Juror 5 had an accommodation conflict-management style due to the fact that he had little confidence in his own opinion, however he want to do the right thing and uphold justice. (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 6Juror 6 was an honest man who was attempting to make the right decision. His decision was dependent on the opinions of others. His role in the group was to be an opinion seeker and harmonizer.

He insisted on other group members giving the older members of the group respect and assisted in setting the standards of acceptable behavior and boundaries within the group (Lumet, 1957). Juror 6 had a compromise conflict-management style due to him attempting to work with all the members toward a solution (Beebe, 2012). | | (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 7Juror 7 was a salesman and stereotypically an opinion giver that had difficulty listening to the opinion of others. This was probably due to a lack of understanding or wiliness to invest anymore time in the process.

He is very self-focused and takes on the role as the joker and is more concerned of getting out of the situation and going to a ball game. He shows very little respect to the process and the other members of the group (Lumet, 1957). Juror 7 can an competition conflict-management style because he was only concerned with his own agenda and wouldn’t listen to the other members (Beebe, 2012). (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 8Juror 8 was a man of strong ethical and moral foundation. One of the first opinions that Juror 8 gave the group was “look, this boy’s been kicked around all his life.

You know – living in a slum, his mother dead since he was nine. He spent a year and a half in an orphanage while his father served a jail term for forgery. That’s not a very good head start. He had a pretty terrible sixteen years. I think maybe we owe him a few words. That’s all” (Lamet, 1957). He immediately sought to encourage his group members to sympathize with the defendant and open the door for further discussion. He was a truth-seeker and cared little about the opinion of his other group members. He was honest and a deep thinker. He took on the role of both information seek and giver.

He was the true leader of the group, because he used the good and bad aspects of each group member to assist in changing their minds. He knew a great deal about human nature and dominated the group by manipulating the members to produce the outcomes that he wanted. The audience roots for juror 8 to succeed just on principle, even though he is probably wrong, because the defendant probably did actually do the crime. His thought process is an excellent example of how perception plays a powerful role in how the world is viewed by every person.

Juror 8 has an accommodation conflict-management style, because he was only concerned with the idea of justice being carried out. He did not care for his own self-preservation or if he was liked within the group, however his own agenda was important enough that he challenged the entire groups ideas and thinking (Beebe, 2012). | | (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 9Juror 9 was in his seventies, which made him the eldest juror. He had an assertive communication style, so he was effective with communicating with the rest of the jurors. He is very sharp witted and highly observant.

Juror 8 was an elaborator and encourager of the opinions of others in the group. He was the first juror to change his mind and support Juror 8. He was very wise to take the time to recognize that Juror 8 was putting himself out there for what he believed in. Juror #9 said, “It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone” (Lumet, 1957). His age did not give him automatic respect from all the juror, however, when he proved his proficiency by remembering things that happened in the trial, that nobody else recognized, which ultimately changed the last three juror’s minds.

He remembered that the woman who testified that she had seen the murder from her bed, had red marks on her nose, probably from eye glasses. He said, “no one wears eyeglasses to bed” (Lumet, 1957). This made it unlikely that she could have viewed the murder, like she had said. Juror 9 was pivotal in changing the mind of most of the jurors, and more specifically, the last three. Juror 9 had a collaboration conflict-management style, he both listened and compromised with the other members. He was not easily affected by the negative behaviors of others and attempts to intimidate (Beebe, 2012). Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 10Juror 10 was an angry man who did not appear to be in good physical health. He as a racist and quick tempered. He was an opinion giver, but did not value the opinions of others in the group. He was an aggressor and a blocker and attempted to cover up his lack of value by being physically and verbally dominant (Lumet, 1957). Juror 10 had the avoidance conflict-management style. He was not self-confident enough to attempt to contribute without showing how faltered is thinking was and show that he was racist and angry.

He was unable to force his thinking down the throats of the other members and eventually they turned against him by physically removing themselves from the group and turning their backs on him. He conceded and shamefully removed himself, bowed his head and gave in to the group’s decision (Beebe, 2012). | | (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 11Juror 11 was the most insightful and compassionate man in the group. He was an immigrant from Europe and valued the American judicial system and what it represented to him. It was important to him to be responsible and to make the right decision to uphold justice.

He took on the role of orienteer, because he attempted to refocus the group on what was important. His own personal issues of self-worth and feeling justified to express his opinion kept him from being as impactful as he could have been in the group (Lumet, 1957) Juror 11 has a compromise conflict-management style due to him attempting to balance his own beliefs, insight, with how he know he is perceived in the group which is not an equal member (Beebe, 2012). (Jury Duty, n. d. )Juror 12Juror 12 was in advertising and seemingly knew very little outside his own world.

He was effective as an information giver, but had very little understanding outside of analyzing factual information. He was more interested in appearances and being clever, than seeking justice. He was a recognition seek and a follower, because he had very few of his own opinions (Lumet, 1957). Juror 12 had a accommodation conflict-management style due to him wanting to please the other members and avoid conflict (Beebe, 2012). The movie had very little to do with the actual trial and task at hand, deciding the innocence of a young man, but human nature and group dynamics.

The title 12 Angry Men was an interesting and introspective choice for this film. All humans are angry about something and different environments and interactions can bring out both the best and worst of ourselves. The jurors resorted to physical violence, shutting down, needing to talking it out, and subsuming to the group think mentality. The passive members of the group were the first ones to be persuaded to change their vote, with those with the most preconceived notions and strong opinions being the last ones to change their opinion.

The group dynamics was the most persuasive force to change opinions, even more important than the “truth. ”| | References 12 Angry Men (n. d. ) Retrieved on April 11, 2013, from http://www. enotes. com/twelve-angry-men Beebe, S. &. (2012). Communicating in Small Groups. Boston: Pearson. Forsyth, D. R. (1990, 1998) Group Dynamics, Pacific Grove CA. : Brooks/Cole Publishing. Jury Duty (n. d. ) [photo]. Retrieved on April 13, 2013, from http://www. criterion. com/current/posts/2082-jury-duty Lumet, S. (Director). (1957). 12 Angry Men [Motion Picture].

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