Hasty Generality In 12 Angry Men: Why So So Serious?

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12 Angry Men: Why So Serious?
In 1957 the critically acclaimed film 12 Angry Men was released; the film is based on Reginald Rose’s screenplay of the same name. Although the film had a disappointing box office opening, today 12 Angry Men is considered a classic because of the complicated and absorbing issues it deals with. The twelve angry men cleverly alluded to in the title are in fact the jury of a court case involving violence, deceit, and death. The jury must decide the fate of a young Hispanic man accused of violently stabbing and killing his father. The majority of the jury do not seem to grip the graveness of a guilty verdict and quickly cast their votes—which would ultimately cause the eighteen-year-old to be executed by the state.
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A hasty generalization is a conclusion made based on insufficient evidence. Juror 4 asserts a hasty generalization when he makes the accusations that: “Slums are breeding grounds for criminals…” Juror 4 claims that because the defendant was raised in the slums, he must have murdered his father—there is no other explanation. Moreover, another example of a hasty generalization is performed when Juror 4 insists: “It’s these kids—the way they are nowadays...” The juror is concludes that the defendant committed first-degree murder because he was a “kid” and that all “kids” are disrespectful, rude, cunning, and disobedient; thus, that all children would do the same thing if they were in the same situation. Furthermore, one of the most prominent type of hasty generalizations seen in the film is stereotyping— Hispanics (immigrants in general) are referred to as “them”. For instance, when Juror 8 claims: “How come you believed the women’s story, she is one of them, too, isn’t she?” The juror is stating that because the lady is one of “them” she is untrustworthy; therefore, her testimony should not be taken seriously. In each of these statements the jurors are jumping to conclusions based on evidence that is not fully supported or biased in …show more content…
The 12 angry men are serious because they had their personal opinions’ shifted and evasively molded into something new entirely through the use of fallacious statements. The film showcases fallacies such as: hasty and sweeping generalizations, argument ad hominem, and ad misericordiam; thus, by using these rhetorical tactics, the audience can learn a valuable lesson—people use fallacies in everyday conversation (some even do so unconsciously.) Therefore, the film 12 Angry Men can be used as a valuable learning tool; one that educates students in ways to identify and avoid being tricked by or using fallacious

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