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12 Angry Men

Essay by review  •  November 20, 2010  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,438 Words (6 Pages)  •  2,106 Views

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Twelve Angry Men is a classic movie depicting how one determined leader can alter an entire crowd. Through dedication, curiosity, and the pursuit for the truth he is able to persuade a group of twelve to second guess even themselves. Within this heterogynous group are a dozen different personalities - some of which were leaders and most of which were not.

The strongest leader in this movie by far is the Architect in the White Suit. Right off from the beginning at the original vote the Architect stated clearly his position in the matter. Against the rest of the group he strongly held his ground and fought for what he believed. Most people in his position would have changed their opinion immediately after realizing that he was completely outnumbered. However he continued to argue his points and reiterate the reasons why "evidence" needed to be questioned. His mind was simply brilliant. As he sat there listening to the other jurors reasoning he always found a way to prove them wrong or make them question themselves. Whether it was through logic, mathematical reasoning, or questioning of evidence he seemed to always wow the other jurors. His strength as a leader is that he is a natural born one. He wasn't trying to look smart or impress anyone. He simply was doing what he was born to do.

He used both pushing and pulling tactics to influence his peers. His strongest tactic was the usage of rational persuasion. While other jurors were able to dismiss facts without consideration, he immediately noted a potential fault. Through the analysis of facts he was able to convince others to reconsider. One of the most notable discrepancies he proved was that of the witness across the street. Through common noises, known train speeds, and common knowledge he proved that the witness was anything but one.

The architect also uses inspirational appeal to convince his colleagues. He makes the other jurors consider the humanity of the situation. A mans life is at stake and he realizes the impact that his decision as well the rest of theirs will have on the man. The importance of values is portrayed. Likewise he keeps his own position non-emotional stating that he will concur with the group about the guilt, but only if they can convince him that he should.

Additionally, he uses consultation to try to help the group to come to a consensus. He seeks group participation to make the ultimate decision. Whereas others are set in their opinion perhaps based on the social normality of it (I.e. to fit in with the rest of the group), he is out to find the true belief of the individual juror. As with the inspirational appeal, he expresses his willingness to modify his decision based on what they discuss.

Another influential leader is the Angry Father. He acted as the leader for the people who believed the defendant was guilty. He, like the Architect, is a natural born leader. He loudly argued his opinions about the case and refused to back down from his stance. Even in the end when he was completely out numbered he fought for his belief despite the persuasion of others. He couldn't care less what they thought of him. He was there to do his job and wouldn't be easily influenced by others.

He perhaps was influenced by the pulling tactics. He used the tactics of legitimating. He tried to convince the group that they were there to protect democracy. A man had committed murder and needed to be punished for it. He was so overshadowed by the rules that he missed the humanity in the situation. He was in effect referencing the higher authority and the rules that needed to be followed. The government says that a murderer must be punished and he was going to see to it.

He also uses pushing tactics with pressure. He threateningly reminds the other that a murder has occurred and that the accused must be punished. He makes them feel guilty when they even consider for a moment that the accused may be not at fault. When the jurors slowly change their minds he becomes very defensive and tries to make the others feel like they're screwing up by feeling the way they do.

A third leader in the movie was the salesman. He acted on behalf of the members of the group who really cared less about the case. They had been put there to do a task that in his eyes was not going to be satisfied. Representing perhaps other bored jurors such as the bank employee and the advertising man, he just wanted to go home. Any chance of a unanimous decision seemed impossible and he clearly advocated this. A few times he suggested a hung jury. This is what made him the third most powerful in the room. However, he did not possess the leadership that the first two had. They had inherited their skills to lead a group while he was going with the flow. His actions were more of a coping mechanism to deal with the situation at hand while the other

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