Group Dynamics of Twelve Angry Men

Topics: JuryJusticeLaw

The following is a sample essay on the group dynamics of twelve angry men. Read the introduction, body and conclusion of the essay, scroll down.

Twelve Angry Men I’m not sure what background information you are supposed to know on this. Certainly any discord among the jurors makes tension. You need a collective jury to to hand down a verdict. These jurors are hot, tired, and upset. A group will naturally look favourably to strong evidence that will end the trial.

Any discord could convince other jurors to change their mind and shift the group dynamics. These jurors want to end the trial fast and give the judge the most obvious verdict. Which is “Guilty. However, the #8 juror opposes to the so called obvious verdict, so the others get upset and angry. This also triggers their wanting to have a reasonable answer to their discomfort. They continously show disrespect to the #8 juror redirecting the attention to some jokes and games showing their disatisfaction till the first big point is made.

And it goes on shifting one by one to the otherside. However, the #8 juror started it because he only wanted to hear more about the boy’s life and his circumstances.

But as the conversation went on the small points made by others helped him think of ways to prove the kid “not guilty. ” Thats what I think. The play is set in a New York City Court of Law jury room in 1957. The play opens to the empty jury room, and the Judge’s voice is heard, giving a set of final instructions to the jurors.

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We learn that this is a murder case and that, if found guilty, the mandatory sentence for the accused is the death penalty. After these instructions, the jurors enter. These are 2nd-12th Juror and the Foreman.

The men file in and decide to take a short break before deliberating. They talk casually and we begin to meet some of the jurors. They complain that the room is hot and without air-conditioning; even the fan doesn’t work. All who talk about the case seem flippant about the situation, and all presume the obvious guilt of the defendant, who we learn has been accused of killing his father. Eventually, the twelve sit down and a vote is taken. All of the jurors vote “guilty,” except for the 8th Juror, who votes “not guilty,” hich, due to the requirement of a unanimous jury, forces them to discuss the case. The other jurors react aggressively to his dissenting vote, trying to quickly talk him out of it, but 8th Juror remains convinced that he is “not sure” whether or not the boy is guilty and feels that they owe it to him to talk about the case for at least an hour, just to make sure. He cites the boy’s troubled upbringing, with his mother dead and his father jailed. Jurors try to argue with him, most notably 10th Juror, who makes a particularly racist argument against the defendant, saying that “they’re born liars. 12th Juror isn’t even paying attention, doodling an ad idea for his marketing campaign. Ultimately, they decide to go around the table, explaining why they believe the boy to be guilty, in hopes of convincing 8th Juror. Through this discussion we learn the following facts about the case: an old man living beneath the boy and his father testified that he heard upstairs a fight, the boy shouting, “I’m gonna kill you,” a body hitting the ground, and then he saw the boy running down the stairs.

The boy claimed he had been at the movies while his father was murdered, but couldn’t remember the name of the movies or who was in them. A woman living across the street testified that she saw the boy kill his father through the windows of a passing elevated train. The boy had, that night, had an argument with his father, which resulted in the boy’s father hitting him twice. Finally, the boy has an extensive list of prior offenses, including trying to slash another teenager with a knife. 3rd Juror makes a speech about how this boy is just another example of “how kids are nowadays. He speaks about his own son, with whom he had a rough relationship, and to whom he hasn’t spoken in two years, after a fight in which his son hit him. 10th Juror and 5th Juror get into an argument over 10th Juror’s citing the boy’s slum background as evidence for his being “trash. ” 5th Juror is angered by this, having grown up in a slum himself. 8th Juror is now made to stand and defend his “not guilty” vote for the boy. He states that he’s not sure whether or not the boy did it, but he was unsatisfied with the job of the defense council, and he was unsure of the two eyewitnesses.

This leads into a discussion about the knife. 4th Juror explains that, on the night of the murder, the boy bought a uniquely carved switchblade knife identical to the one used in the murder. The boy claims that he lost it that night, before coming home to find his father dead. 4th Juror presents the death weapon, the “only one of its kind;” 8th Juror surprises the others by presenting an identical knife he had purchased in a pawn shop two blocks from where the boy lived a few nights prior, shattering the claim that the knife was unique and identifiable.

An argument breaks out among the jurors as to the new doubt; most are just upset that they’re still arguing and want to just declare him guilty and go home. 8th Juror makes a proposition that the other eleven of them could vote, and if all of them voted “not guilty,” he would not stand alone and would go along with their guilty verdict. They agree to this and vote by secret ballot. The vote is 10 “guilty” votes and 1 “not guilty” vote, and so the deliberation continues. — Analysis of Act One (Part 1) —

Twelve Angry Men is in many ways a love letter to the American legal justice system. We find here eleven men, swayed to conclusions by prejudices, past experience, and short-sightedness, challenged by one man who holds himself and his peers to a higher standard of justice, demanding that this marginalized member of society be given his due process. We see the jurors struggle between the two, seemingly conflicting, purposes of a jury, to punish the guilty and to protect the innocent. It proves, however, that the logic of the American trial-by-jury system does work.

On another level, the play is about America and its makeup as a melting pot of different cultures, ideas, beliefs, and temperaments. This jury runs the gamut from a German immigrant watchmaker, 11th Juror, to a presumably wealthy broker, 4th Juror, to a male nurse at a Harlem hospital, who grew up in the slums, 5th Juror. These men represent the incredible richness of diversity in America and the various challenges that it presents. This clash becomes a major part of the conflict within the play; Rose externalizes this conflict by making the room hot, which both represents and adds to their hot temperament.

Just as much as these men are trying to come up with a verdict, they are figuring out how to work together and cooperate toward a common goal. At first, this seems nearly impossible, but they slowly are able to work together. Throughout the play, we see a variety of rhetorical strategies, used by all of the jury members to relay their belief. 8th juror appeals to their sense of pathos and pity by saying “this boy’s been kicked around all his life…He’s had a pretty terrible sixteen years. I think maybe we owe him a few words. That’s all. ” While this has nothing to do with the case, he hopes to appeal to heir humanity in order to get them to give him a chance in these deliberations. Many of the jurors use logos, logic and reasoning, to lay out the evidence in a rational and concrete manner to convince him. An example is when 4th Juror lays out all of the evidence of the knife to convince 8th Juror with seven, linear, factual points. The reader and audience is meant to connect a sense of ethos, reliability or competence, to 8th Juror, as he is the only one who doesn’t, at first, seem to be clouded by ignorance, racism, disinterest, or any other characteristic that might cloud judgment.

The play is very interesting in its structure because we see none of the trial or events leading up to the trial. At its opening, we simply get a set of jury instructions from the judge, as if we the reader and audience are the ones about to make a judgment. We learn the facts of the case in piecemeal from the jury members, as they discuss the evidence. While the surface of the play is clearly about the trial and coming to a verdict, eliminating these outside dramatic influences shifts the focus to the jurors themselves and their own process of discovery.

The play becomes just as much about their learning to deal with each other and understand themselves as it is about their coming to a verdict. Furthermore, the play provides us with almost no specifics. At no point in the script are any names used, including for the jurors, the defendants, or the witnesses. This is a very conspicuous choice that allows each character to function as part of this larger allegory for the American society. It gives the sense that the jurors could be you, the person sitting next to you, or the person down the street; these are everyday Americans.

While the setting is marked in the stage directions for the 2004 production as New York City, 1957 (which is notably the date and setting of the classic Sidney Lumet film adaptation), there are almost no factors of this play that truly force it in that setting, except perhaps that all of the jurors are men, and such tiny details as the fact that the defendant claimed to have gone to a “double feature” movie, which one would no longer find at a movie theater Justice

At the onset of the play, we learn from the Judge’s offstage opening instructions the given circumstances of the play, that a man has been accused of murder and his fate is to be determined by these jurors. Immediately, we are launched into a world where the ultimate objective is to complete the “grave responsibility” of determining a man’s innocence and guilt, the heart of the American justice system. Throughout the play, we see two opposing views of justice.

From 8th Juror and others, as they join, we see a perspective of justice that favors the accused and that wants most for him to have a fair shot. To 8th Juror, the boy’s poor and troubled upbringing, his shoddy state-appointed defense attorney, and the jury’s quick near-decisive decision to convict him are all gross forms of injustice. Conversely, we see another side of justice proposed by the other members of the jury, who feel that the accused is clearly guilty, and anything other than conviction and execution is short of justice. th Juror articulates this most clearly, saying, “Suppose you talk us outta this and the kid really did knife his father? ” This type of justice depends on retribution and vengeance. Rose plays off the two-sided nature of justice to create tension and contrast the characters. Each character wants “justice,” but what justice becomes unclear and fluid throughout the course of the play. Prejudice Prejudice is observed on several levels throughout the course of the play. In the most obvious sense, the play deals with racial 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. ” Looking at prejudice in a larger sense, we find that, while maybe not racially driven, many of the jurors enter the jury room with preconceived notions and irrational ideas. 3rd Juror seems to be prejudiced against the accused simply because of his age, which seems to remind him of his estranged son.

An interesting example of “reverse prejudice” is 8th Juror, who is initially sympathetic to the accused, not because of the evidence, but because he pitied his poor and troubled upbringing. Doubt What’s really interesting about the case within 12 Angry Men is that we never ultimately find out for sure whether the accused is guilty or innocent. While much of the evidence is aptly questioned and manipulated by 8th Juror, at the end of the case there remains a tremendous amount of evidence built up against the accused.

Still, it is “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the jurors must find the accused guilty in order to convict him, and they all ultimately come to the conclusion that they have at least some doubt. We leave the play with a sense that justice and right has prevailed over irrationality and prejudice, but, pointedly so, we never actually find out the truth. This doubt over who is on the “right” side pervades the psychologies of the characters in the play and any audience watching. Advertisement One Against Many The action of the play begins as 8th Juror votes ‘not guilty’ against 11 votes of ‘guilty,’ from the other jurors.

This creates an immediate antagonism from the other jurors (10th Juror shouts, “Boy-oh-boy! There’s always one”), and we quickly find that the task of our protagonist is to convince these eleven other jurors, which he slowly but surely does. This is framed as an act of bravery, standing up against the group to do what’s right. However, 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… ou’re alone. ” This moment is pointedly characterized contrarily as one stubborn man, refusing to come over to the side of reason. Rose contrasts these moments to provide a strong point of view for the play, as well as characterizing the two Jurors. Class The play proudly presents a tremendous cross-section of American life. The play juxtaposes a presumably wealthy stock broker (4th Juror) with someone who has admittedly lived in the slums his entire life (5th Juror), and we seem to have every level of working man in between.

For many of the jurors, we have no more information than their occupation, which gives us an idea of socioeconomic level. These people are defined by what they do for a living. 7th Juror is even so tactless as to report his income of $28000, from selling marmalade, to the group. Similarly, the idea of class in American society is brought to the forefront in the deliberation. 8th Juror immediately cites the boy’s poor upbringing as a possible explanation for his juvenile criminal record and suggests that he has not been given adequate representation, due to his low social status.

It calls into immediate question whether the American justice system is fair across classes. Father/Son Relationships It is very important to note that the defendant was accused of murdering his father. This relationship becomes very important in how 3rd Juror and 8th Juror understand the accused. Both identify over the play as fathers. 8th Juror exemplifies a somewhat paternal relationship with the accused, even though he doesn’t know him and they are never seen together. He stands up for him in a very paternal way and empathizes with the plight of his life.

Conversely, 8th Juror projects onto the accused his relationship with his own son, from whom he has been estranged for two years. The result is that 3rd Juror is immediately prejudiced against him. This play is in many ways a multi-generational play, featuring men of many different age groups; this coupled with the fact that the play is all-male definitely embeds the patriarchy of the times as well. Anonymity No names whatsoever and almost no specifics are used throughout the play. The jurors are simply referred to as a number, and the defendant is referred to as “defendant,” “accused,” “boy,” etc.

Even the witnesses are, “the downstairs neighbor,” “the old man,” etc. Ignoring the opening stage directions, there are no indications of time and place, except that it is summer and the fact that the play is all men – which does date it, but even that can (and has frequently) been changed in production. The effect is that the play is not fixed. It could be the jury room of your trial or your neighbor’s. It could be New York. It could be Wisconsin. The characters are less specific individuals and more of a general representation of the American population.

These are everyday people that could very well be on your jury. This sense of anonymity raises the stakes of the play as a social drama, in that is a more general commentary on the American legal system Part 2) — Immediately, the jurors turn on 5th Juror, accusing him of having changed his vote out of sympathy for the boy. 9th Juror stands and admits to having changed his vote because he’d like to hear the arguments out. The men take a break. We learn that the 11th juror is a German watchmaker. 12th Juror works for an advertisement agency. 8th Juror is an architect, and 7th Juror sells marmalade. th Juror presents several hypothetical situations, based on the father’s criminal background, that could have gotten him killed that evening. Next, he attempts to discount the testimony by the old man living downstairs by deducing that, because of the sound made by the elevated train passing by, there’s no way he could have heard with certainty screaming and a body hitting the floor. 9th Juror identifies with the poor old man, believing that he might just be trying to feel important. 8th Juror concludes by saying that even if he did hear him say, “I’m gonna kill you,” that very well could be taken out of context as just a figure of speech.

With this 5th Juror changes his vote to “not guilty,” and the vote is 9-3 in favor of guilty. 11th Juror raises another question of why the boy would return home, several hours after his father had been murdered, if he had been the one to murder him. 4th Juror suggests that he left the knife in a state of panic and then decided to come back for it later, but 11th Juror challenges this by reminding him that the fingerprints had been wiped off the knife, suggesting that the murderer left calmly. There is more question over the accuracy of the witnesses, and an argument breaks out. th Juror calls for another vote. This time, 5th, 8th, 9th, and 11th vote “not guilty,” and the deliberation continues. After a brief argument, 8th Juror brings into question whether or not the downstairs neighbor, an old man who had suffered a stroke and could only walk slowly, could have gotten to the door to see the boy run down the stairs in fifteen seconds, as he had testified. 8th Juror recreates the floor plan of the apartment, while 2nd Juror times him, and they conclude that he would not have been able to reach his door in fifteen seconds. rd Juror reacts violently to this, calling it dishonest, saying that this kid had “got to burn. ” 8th Juror calls him a “self-appointed public avenger” and a “sadist,” and 3rd leaps at him. Restrained by the other men, he shouts, “God damn it! I’ll kill him! I’ll kill him. ” 8th Juror asks, “You don’t really mean you’ll kill me, do you? ” proving his earlier point about how people say, “I’ll kill you,” when they don’t really mean it. — Analysis of Act One. In this section, the play begins to divide its jurors into three categories.

First, 8th Juror stands alone as fighting for the boy. Now, one may include 9th Juror in this, as he does quickly become an advocate for the boy, after hearing a few of 8th Juror’s arguments. Second, there are jurors who do presume the defendant to be guilty, but aren’t belligerent about their beliefs, simply convinced that he is guilty. This would include 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, and 12th Jurors. 3rd, 7th, and 10th Jurors seem particularly prejudiced or indifferent against the boy and are unmoved by the arguments of the others in this first act.

For them, it is greater than simply changing their mind about the case; it requires them to challenge notions held deep within themselves. 8th Juror is clearly set up by Rose as the protagonist. He is characterized as level-headed and fair. At the beginning of the play, he is contemplating the case seriously, with due consideration, as opposed to many of the other jurors who treat it frivolously or don’t seem to care much at all. When the vote is taken, he votes “not guilty,” not because he is certain of the boy’s innocence, which would be a hard sell by any account, but he simply says, “I don’t know. He wants to talk through the case and see what conclusion they find, as opposed to jumping to a guilty verdict. We are clearly meant to view him as doing the right, though difficult, thing. He is a classic hero, faced by what seems to be an overwhelming challenge, to convince these men. In this first act, we see him remain stoic and steadfast in his quest for justice, in the face of much opposition and nastiness, embodying an American ideal. Furthermore, the scope of the play expands to become about how people come to decisions. The individual psychologies of the jury members interact in a very complex manner.

Earlier in the act, it seemed very clear that it is a group of men against 8th Juror, and that group seemed to speak with one voice, using the same logic. However, as the play progresses, we see that each of the jurors came to their decision in a very different manner. 2nd Juror seems to have been swayed simply by the tone of the courtroom, which is reflective of his characterization as meek, perhaps susceptible to popular influence. We are encouraged to believe that 3rd Juror’s opinion is influenced by his bad relationship with his son, and 4th Juror seems to be completely reliant upon the facts of the case.

Here, the group psychology breaks down into the individual psychology. Where this group of eleven found it so easy to convict him jointly, it becomes harder for them, as their individual beliefs and motivations are put on trial — Summary of Act Two — Act II resumes in the same moment we left Act I. 3rd Juror has just, in a fury, tried to leap at 8th Juror, but is restrained. The Guard enters, and everything calms down; the jurors resume deliberations. Another vote is taken, and the jury is now six to six. They take a break.

During this break, it begins to rain outside. Also, they are able to turn the fan on, cooling the room. 3rd Juror tries to reclaim some of his image; he talks to 4th juror, saying, “I get moved by this. But let me tell you, I’m sincere. ” 4th Juror does not respond well, indicating that 3rd Juror has, in fact, lost credibility. When deliberations resume, 8th Juror attempts to break apart the testimony of the arresting police officer that the defendant was unable to name the movies that he had claimed to have seen that evening.

He asserts that possibly the defendant just forgot the names of the films and who was in them “under great emotional distress. ” He illustrates this point by asking 4th Juror what he saw several nights ago at the movies. 4th Juror is unable to respond accurately, and the point is made. The Foreman brings up the fact that a psychologist testified that after giving the defendant several tests, he determined that the defendant had homicidal tendencies. However, 11th Juror argues against this piece of evidence reminding the jurors that there is a big difference between having homicidal tendencies and committing murder.

Next, 2nd Juror brings up the coroner’s testimony that the father had been stabbed in the chest “down and in” and also that his father was six or seven inches taller than he. While reenacting the mechanics of this stabbing, 5th Juror gets up and begins to examine the switchblade. He explains that it would make no sense for someone to stab someone like that with a switchblade because it would require the attacker to lose precious time. Because the defendant was highly competent with a switchblade, it becomes questionable whether or not he would have made that chest wound. th Juror, tired of sitting through these deliberations, decides to change his vote to ‘not guilty. ’ 11th Juror is angered by this, furious that 7th Juror is not respecting the process enough to do what he believes is right, no matter what that is. The jurors take another vote, and it is now nine to three, all but 3rd, 4th, and 10th Juror are in favor of ‘not guilty. ’ This launches 10th Juror in a massive bigoted rant, which ends with 4th Juror scolding him back into his seat. th Juror now begins a discussion by reintroducing what he considers to be the most compelling piece of evidence, the testimony of the woman across the street, who claims to have heard a scream and then to have seen him stab his father through the windows of the elevated train passing by. While he is speaking, he rubs his nose where his spectacles have made indentations. This causes 9th Juror to realize that the woman also had those same marks on her nose and must have worn glasses, despite the fact that she didn’t wear them in court, presumably for her own vanity.

This causes all of the jurors to question the eyesight of the woman, who may have witnessed the murder without her glasses. Based on this, 4th Juror changes his vote. 10th Juror gives up and also changes his vote to “not guilty. ” Now, the vote is 11 to 1, and 3rd Juror stands alone. At first, he stands firm, saying that he will be the holdout to make this a hung jury. He launches himself into a final massive rant against the boy that descends into nonsense. 8th and 4th Jurors make a short final plea, and 3rd Juror finally concedes, saying “All right. Not guilty. The Foreman informs the Guard that they have reached a verdict, and the Jurors leave the courtroom. — Analysis of Act Two — Act II operates in many ways as a reversal of Act I. We see the characters reduced down to their most basic composition, based on how they process the evidence. Besides being a halfway point in the case, it marks a halfway mark in 8th Juror’s campaign to convince the other jurors of the defendant’s innocence, with a 6-6 vote taken early in the first act. Whereas in Act I, it seems like the impossible task, now they are on even footing, and the momentum is certainly on his side.

It’s very interesting that Reginald Rose does not provide us in this second act with any massive realization that would prove the innocence of the defendant. In fact, it seems that the arguments for his innocence become weaker and weaker. 8th Juror uses 4th Juror’s failure to remember the names and stars of a movie to prove that it’s very easy to forget such details under great emotional stress, but meanwhile 4th Juror was able to name one of the films and comes close to being able to name the second film, in addition to who starred in it.

It would seem that 4th Juror has passed 8th Juror’s test, but 8th Juror is able to frame it in such a way that makes him seem correct. While clearly framing 8th Juror as the hero of the play, Rose is very conscious not to make him overwhelmingly right, to maintain a sense of doubt. 10th and 3rd Juror, the two last remaining holdouts for a guilty verdict, are brought to light in this second act.

In Act I, we saw both being guided by their prejudices, but what seemed to be a gentle nod in Act I toward the subconscious psychologies of jurors comes into full view in Act II, when both are given long monologues that fully outline the prejudices that govern their decisions. 10th Juror says, “They’re against us, they hate us, they want to destroy us…There’s a danger. ” This is a fascinating choice because he’s speaking about the danger of the defendant, but everyone in the room – and in the audience – realizes that 10th Juror is the actual danger.

He is the one that is polluting our society and is a danger to our legal system and way of life. It’s a dangerous discovery, as it blatantly dramatizes the incredibly strong prejudices that can lay hidden in the American subconscious. Similarly, we see that 3rd Juror, who has, despite his temper, been a somewhat coherent voice in the deliberations, is completely driven by his own demons to convict the boy, in place of his own son, with whom he has a troubled relationship. We see the layers of his decision making process peel away in his final monologue.

It begins with him chronicling logically the case; however, it quickly becomes clear that he is no longer talking about the defendant. He says, “I can feel the knife goin’ in,” and we see that his personal connection and confusion about the case runs deep. Finally, the demon is named when 8th Juror says, “It’s not your boy. It’s somebody else. ” 3rd Juror finally gives in to reason. The play seems to be telling us that if we recognize and name our prejudices, we are able to defeat them, and ultimately do what is right. The theme of heat becomes apparent in this act, s the oppressive heat of Act I is cooled by the rains and the discovery of a fan in the room. It seems that as the temperature of the room decreases, so does the temperament of the jurors, and they are able to operate more rationally. The very ending of the play, which just has the jurors walking out, shows that the play was not about the verdict and the defendant. If it were, the final scene would be the judge reading a “not guilty” verdict. However, the climax is rather 3rd Juror facing his internal conflict and winning against it. The play is about a group of men just trying to do what is right, and they ultimately succeed.

The movie Twelve Angry Men is about the twelve jurors that could adjust their influence in a decision-making process for conviction an eighteen years-old boy, whether the boy guilty or not guilty in murdering of his father. It represents a perfect example for applicable of a work group development framework. It also has examples of influence techniques among a group’s members. This paper is looking at those specific examples in the movie and focusing in analysis the reasons why Juror 8 is so much more effective than others in the meeting.

According to Bruce Tuckman, healthy work groups need to go through four stages of development: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Forming define as members get acquainted and organized to select a leader, a given example for the forming stage in this movie is the twelve men were up for the first vote, engaged in social oriented behavior to become acquainted with one another. The lead juror introduced to everyone “why are we here. ” Storming are power struggles and sub-grouping, given example here is one juror voted “not guilty” while other eleven jurors voted “guilty”.

It formed a perfect conflict that led group members device by two sub-group, vote guilty group and vote not guilty group, seat back for digging deep into the provided evidences to make sure if they are worthy of declaring the boy guilty of the charge. Norming define as group chooses rules to coordinate interaction and facilitate goals, given example here is when the twelve men rejected the prejudice of a tired voting, six “guilty” versus six “not guilty. ” Another good example for Norming is when “We nine need to understand why you three still think he is guilty. Performing define as the group structure enables working together smoothly toward one goal. It is when they all agreed on only one common right answer “the boy is not guilty”.

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Group Dynamics of Twelve Angry Men. (2019, Jun 20). Retrieved from

Group Dynamics of Twelve Angry Men
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