Rhetorical Analysis: 12 Angry Men

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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. He pleaded not guilty because he wanted to discuss the case …show more content…
The jury was attacking him because they believed that it was impossible for the knife (murder weapon used to kill the boys’ father) to fall out of the boys’ pocket; and the same knife shows up and is used to kill his father. Juror eight proved that the boy could be telling the truth. For instance, the jurors told juror eight that the knife was very unusual and that they have never seen one like it. Juror eight then uses proof to back his argument by pulling out the same knife; he then says, “I went walking for a couple of hours last night. I walked through the boys’ neighborhood. I bought the knife at a pawn shop just two blocks from the boys’ house. It cost me six dollars” (12 angry men 1957). This statement shows juror eight proving that the boy could in fact be innocent of killing his father. The knife that was used in the murder is easily obtainable just blocks away from his home. Juror eight continues to add to his already powerful persuasive argument by proving that there are flaws in the case that can’t be overlooked. Proof is important when trying to persuade someone, because without proof then there is no persuasion. Proof is supporting evidence that backs your argument. Providing proof to back his argument, juror eight was able to persuade and impact the decisions of the other …show more content…
Pathos is appeal based on emotion. Emotional or motivational appeals to make your audience feel the way you intend for them to feel. Juror eight stated, “this boy has been hit so many times in his life that violence is practically a normal state of affair. I can’t see two slaps in the face provoking him into committing murder” (12 angry men 1957). This statement evokes an emotional pity; as a result, the jury gets a glimpse of the boys’ upbringing. Juror eight appealed to the jury’s values. He told a story about the innocent boy (innocent when he was young) being harmed as he was growing up. The boy was beaten by his dad when he was young. Juror eight did a tremendous job of appealing to the emotions of the others; as his approach changes the minds of the jurors. For example, Juror number nine says “this gentleman has been standing alone against us, he doesn’t say the boy isn’t guilty, he just isn’t sure” (12 angry men 1957). This statement by juror nine gives the viewers an understanding on how good juror eight appealed to the emotions of the others. He did not say that the boy wasn’t guilty; he provided evidence, and showed the others that there are possibilities that the boy did not kill his father. The discussion continues as they bring up the testimony of the witnesses of the murder. Juror eight appeals to the emotions of the jurors once again;

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