Analysis Of 12 Angry Men: Critique Of The Legal System

Improved Essays
To what extent is 12 Angry Men a critique of the legal system?

The 1957 film, 12 Angry Men, revolves around the discussion in a courtroom regarding the alleged killing of a Hispanic boy’s father. Reginald Rose, through some of his characters, showcases the flaws in the legal system and how prejudice influences the men’s decisions. The film shows the racist, personal biases that sway the decisions of the men, as well as the un-cooperation between the jurors. The film also explores the wanton destruction of life that the jury room presents, as well as how easy it is to accuse someone erroneously. Thus,12 Angry Men critiques the legal system by exposing the shortcomings of the jurors themselves.

During the course of the film, 12 Angry Men presents the common use of stereotyping and racism. Having a jury of 12 white, middle aged men meant that a broader
…show more content…
The majority of the jurors did not follow ‘innocent until proven guilty’, rather, they worked the opposite way. This is due to their personal biases. Under Juror 8’s influence, the men began ’talking for an hour’ using ‘reasonable doubt’, thus allowing the men to reach a sensible conclusion. This may have otherwise cost the life of a minor. The film exposes through Juror 8 that the superficial evidence should be dismissed to allow for deeper analysis of the case. Without the actions of Juror 8, the boy would have been convicted of the crime and accused for something he may not have done.

Reginald Rose has used his film, Twelve Angry Men, to critique the jury system by pointing out the flaws present. Racism, personal biases, unwillingness to cooperate and accusing someone incorrectly were all obstacles that each of the jurors had to face to reach the final verdict. It is with these factors that one can critique the jury system and judge whether or not the system is really doing us

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    The author’s word choice of “monster” connotes fear and danger; making people dehumanize Steve for what he looks like, and therefore take away his ability to be human. His defense attorney, Kathy O’Brien, also tells him that what he looks like on the outside will not help him win the case. She says, “You’re young, you’re Black, and you’re on trial. What else do they need to know?” (79). She tells him that the prejudice of the jury based on his skin color makes him guilty.…

    • 1159 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Persuading someone to take your side in an argument is not an easy task to accomplish. There are many things a person must learn in order to become an effective persuader. In the movie twelve angry men, persuasion plays a huge role; as the jury has to decide whether the boy (who is accused of murdering his father) is guilty or innocent. This movie is a great example of ad hominem; which is a logical fallacy in which the argument is countered by attacking the person, their motive, or other things relating to the person who is making the argument. In the movie, every juror is convinced that the boy is guilty of the crime; but there is one juror, juror number eight pleads not guilty.…

    • 1678 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It is not a permanent solution though, and people go back to thinking that he is innocent. As a result he only gets more angry with juror eight and makes him think that the kid is guilty. Overall, juror number three is an angry man who only believes what he’s told himself to make him feel better. He only appreciates the opinions that he has believed all his life. He yells at people a lot when someone disagrees with him.…

    • 704 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the play, 12 Angry Men, by Reginald Rose, the characters of this story appear to be nothing more than average people picked to stand and listen to a case of a boy accused of homicide. As the characters are supposed to leave personal issues at the door of the case, some appear to use them against the boy. Using these imperfect jurors, people can see how that when insecurities, flaws, and the law form together, the justice system can be found. The justice system is neither perfect nor is it imperfect. To sum it up, is people are put to the test of humanity to decide what must become of the case.…

    • 1288 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    After the trial Scout tries to explain to Dill why Mr. Gilmer was being so mean and rude to Tom Robinson in the quote “The way that man called him ‘boy’ all the time an’ sneered at him, an’ looked around at the jury every time he answered-’ ‘Well, Dill, after all he’s just a negro”. (Lee 199) The only explanation is this; because discrimination against colored people has caused it to be okay in a courtroom, for lawyers to treat those like Tom with disrespect. Scout describes the scene where the controversial final verdict is announced in the quote “A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson. The foreman handed a piece of paper to Mr. Tate who handed it to the clerk who handed it to the judge… I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: “Guilty...guilty...guilty…” I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them”.…

    • 1340 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Sex, Violence and Power. Three primal urges that create a divide and contrast between fellow human beings. We see the devastating effects and the sheer volatility of these components in Ralph Ellison’s short story “Battle Royal”. In the story we find a young black boy who is showered with adulation from not only his community, but also by the wealthy and influential white people of the region as well. This only exsterbates the constant torment the young man feels, due to the fact that he cannot get out of his head the startling deathbed confession of his grandfather who calls himself a “traitor” and a “spy” to his fellow black people due to his own achieved admiration from the white folks in town.…

    • 1161 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    He saw that his coercive power was not working. In each clip of the movie, the Cougher always voted guilty. He verbalized and used gestures to express his opinion of the groups vote. In the end, after other key points of evidence where introduced, the Cougher changed his vote to not guilty. 12 Angry Men Movie Clip (The Group) As the scene begins, the Foreman has exercised a transition in power, from legitimate power to referent power.…

    • 1384 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the Teleplay Twelve Angry Men, written by Reginald Rose, a group of male jurors deliberate upon sentencing an eighteen year old to death for the supposed murder of his father; Similarly, in the story Trifles, by Susan Glaspell, the women play the de facto jurors of their pier. Upon taking their preliminary vote regarding the boys innocence the overwhelming majority of the male jurors voted guilty; however, as the jurors continue their deliberation the verdict begins to shift. This is because of juror number Eight, who is not satisfied with the guilty verdict because he does not know whether or not the boy is guilty. In Trifles, the male detectives seek out a criminal to punish and the women seek for insight as to what truly took place. While an ideal just verdict is wrought by truth, fairness, and reason, the men of this jury had settled for a false certainty.…

    • 773 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Why would he lie? What’s he got to gain, Nine: Attention maybe?” Eight makes a good statement when saying that the Old man’s view doesn’t make sense due to the El train blocking his view and hearing. Nine tends to agree with Eight saying that the old ma In the beginning of the play almost every Juror in the room picks “Guilty” except for Juror Eight. He believes that the boy is “Not-Guilty” saying that the evidence is somewhat false. Of course the other Jurors don’t believe it.…

    • 608 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Juror 9 was one of the first jurors to show respect for Juror 8. Before the second vote, Juror 9 says “It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone even when you believe in something very strongly” (Rose and Sergel 28). For example, the jury ignores Juror 3 because of his inconsideration towards them. Finally, by the end of the play, many jurors stopped listening to the men who were not civil. In fact, Juror 3 repeatedly accused many jurors of lying, which is where he lost the other’s vote.…

    • 1321 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays