Analysis of 12 Angry Men

Analysis of 12 Angry Men

Length: 1246 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
In viewing 12 Angry Men, we see face to face exactly what man really is capable of being. We see different views, different opinions of men such as altruism, egoism, good and evil. It is no doubt that human beings possess either one or any of these characteristics, which make them unique. It is safe to say that our actions, beliefs, and choices separate us from animals and non-livings. The 20th century English philosopher, Martin Hollis, once said, “Free will – the ability to make decisions about how to act – is what distinguishes people from non-human animals and machines 1”. He went to describe human beings as “self conscious, rational, creative. We can fall in love, write sonnets or plan for tomorrow. We are capable of faith, hope and charity, and for that matter, of envy, hated and malice. We know truth from error, right from wrong 2.” Human nature by definition is “Characteristics or qualities that make human beings different from anything else”. With this said, the topic of human nature has been around for a very long time, it is a complex subject with no right or wrong answer. An American rabbi, Samuel Umen, gave examples of contradictions of human nature in his book, Images of Man. “He is compassionate, generous, loving and forgiving, but also cruel, vengeful, selfish and vindictive 3”. Existentialism by definition is, “The belief that existence comes before essence, that is, that who you are is only determined by you yourself, and not merely an accident of birth”. A French philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, is the most famous and influential 20th - century existentialist. He summed up human nature as “existence precedes essence”. In his book, Existentialism and Human Emotions, he explained what he meant by this. “It means that, first of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards, defines himself. If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will be something, and he himself will have made what he will be 4”. After watching 12 Angry Men, the prominent view on human nature that is best portrayed in the movie is that people are free to be whatever they want because as Sartre said, “people create themselves every moment of everyday according to the choices they make 5”.



Firstly, perhaps the most egoistic man seen in the film would be Juror 3.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Analysis of 12 Angry Men." 123HelpMe.com. 07 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=230178>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis of 12 Angry Men Essay

- The play 12 Angry Men is one of the greatest plays I’ve seen. I read the novel and saw both movies but my favorite was the Broadway play we saw as a class. The play was so alive and made me really feel like I was in the jury. The play was about a young man on trial for the murder of his father. The play showed how one man didn’t give up in what he believed to be true. The play also showed a powerful leader who fought till the end. The play was about 12 jurors coming to the same verdict. It was eleven to one in favor of guilty....   [tags: 12 Angry Men, Reginald Rose]

Research Papers
1056 words (3 pages)

Twelve Angry Men Legal Analysis Essay

- Twelve Angry Men Legal Analysis Brief – Aakriti G The movie Twelve Angry Men is an American drama directed by Sidney Lumet. The film is about an eighteen-year-old boy from the ghetto who is on a trial for the murder of his abusive father. A jury of twelve men who are in one room, separated from the rest of the world, are charged with deciding the fate of this boy. As the movie progresses and the evidence is revealed and we see that all present evidence is against the boy and if the verdict results in one which is guilty, it would send him on row for a death sentence would send him to die....   [tags: Jury, Not proven, Law, Verdict]

Research Papers
736 words (2.1 pages)

Analysis of the Jurors in 12 Angry Men Essay

- Guilty or not guilty. This the key question during the murder trial of a young man accused of fatally stabbing his father. The play 12 Angry Men, by Reginald Rose, introduces to the audience twelve members of a jury made up of contrasting men from various backgrounds. One of the most critical elements of the play is how the personalities and experiences of these men influence their initial majority vote of guilty. Three of the most influential members include juror #3, juror #10, and juror #11. Their past experiences and personal bias determine their thoughts and opinions on the case....   [tags: Twelve Angry Men, Reginald Rose]

Free Essays
617 words (1.8 pages)

Analysis of the Jurors in 12 Angry Men Essay

- In all criminal cases presented in the courts of the United States, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The law requires the jury to release the defendant unless it is fully convinced of the defendant's guilt. Many times it may be difficult for a jury to come to such a significant conclusion. This is clearly evident in the movie 12 Angry Men. At first, each juror is convinced of his verdict except one. Yet of those who are convinced that the boy on trial is guilty, all change their vote except one....   [tags: 12 Angry Men, Reginald Rose]

Free Essays
714 words (2 pages)

Analysis Of ' Twelve Angry Men ' Essay

- Extend Analysis 12 Angry Men Justice is a concept that is crucial for a fair and just society. For hundreds of years, countries have developed constitutions and other documents in place to form justice for those within the country. In Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose, the idea of justice is bounced around by twelve men on a jury. These men have the unthinkable decisions of whether a suspected murderer is given the death penalty or able to walk free. Justice is something that has been debated heavily for the entire existence of human life....   [tags: Law, Jury, Judge, Court]

Research Papers
2109 words (6 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of ' Twelve Angry Men '

- Twelve Angry Men Essay The film begins as we hear the judge’s instructions and see the young man we later learn is accused of murdering his father. The judge states, if there is a reasonable doubt you must bring me a verdict of not guilty and further says that it must be unanimous and the penalty is death. Twelve jurors, men of different classes with various backgrounds, file in to the jury room given the incredible responsibility of deciding whether there is reasonable doubt whether the accused boy committed the murder....   [tags: Jury, Not proven, The Juror, Verdict]

Research Papers
1862 words (5.3 pages)

Analysis Of ' Twelve Angry Men ' Essay

- Twelve Angry Men exhibits the thought processes of twelve men that rely upon their intuitions on varying levels; some of whom check their intuition, some dismiss their intuition, and some trust it blindly. Of course, absolutism in either direction is not wise, and, in almost any case, moderation will find better results, especially in a court room. Throughout the film, various characters utilize one of these false ways of thought. However, it was characters like Juror Eight, that checked his intuition that saved the accused boy from the death penalty....   [tags: Critical thinking, Law, Jury, Thought]

Research Papers
836 words (2.4 pages)

Film Analysis: 12 Angry Men Essays

- In the film 12 angry men, 12 jurors are put in a room to discuss a first degree murder case. Each one has a very different characteristic than the next, but each contribute to the stories plot line equally. Each juror can be classified as the average “every day” person; the silent but analytical, the loud and stubborn or the mediator. The one juror that is more like myself is Juror #11. I find myself to be most like him because he is unbiased, empathetic and is analytic. Juror #11 seems to be an excellent juror because he is unbiased, about both the other juror’s opinions and the case....   [tags: mediator, innocents]

Research Papers
786 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Film Analysis: 12 Angry Men

- ... Juror #8 stands with his convictions, and insist that while the young man is probably guilty, he wants to be sure that they really examine all the evidence to ensure that he is guilty without a reasonably doubt. Juror #8, wanting to discuss the case is similar to McLemore’s “Guideline #34, to be patient shows intelligence…the man in a hurry misses the way” (2003). Juror #9, the oldest gentleman in the group, agrees that they jury should review the evidence and be sure without a reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty....   [tags: veredict, jury, guilty ]

Research Papers
782 words (2.2 pages)

Analysis Of The Movie ' 12 Angry Men ' Essay

- 12 Angry Men The movie “12 Angry Men” is about a child that is just about to be sentence to death penalty because he was suspicious of a premeditated murder. At the trial, the judge tell the jury that they have to find a verdict whether the boy is guilty or not of murdering his father. The judge was very specific when he said that the decision must be unanimous. When they get in the jury room to deliberate, eleven men stood in favor of condemn the boy to death but only one men refuse that sentence because he had many reasonable doubt to don’t belief that....   [tags: Jury, Hung jury, Deliberation, Not proven]

Research Papers
810 words (2.3 pages)

He is characterized in the movie as a very strong and very forceful, an extremely opinionated man with a streak of sadism 6. He is intolerant of opinions other than his own and is accustomed to forcing his wishes and views upon others 7. He admitted that he would pull the switch on the boy if he had the chance, claiming that the boy is guilty without going over the evidence thoroughly, even when the evidence proves the boy is innocent. Juror 3’s opinion of the boy reflects a personal experience with his own son, who ran away, and he has not seen his son since. Juror 3 used the experience of his own son and applied it to the boy. He is biased and convinced that the boy is guilty and should be brought to justice. All of his choices and actions lead the other jurors to look at him in disgust and turn the votes eleven-to-one not guilty, despite his outbursts. In the end, Juror 3 could have voted guilty until the end and wait for the hung jury but out of free will, he voted not guilty when he realized that he is defeated and there was nothing more that he can say.

Another juror, Juror 7, is another example of an egoist, is a loud, flashy type of man who has more important things to do, like go to the baseball game 8. He is quick to show temper and equally quick to form opinions in things which he knows nothing. He is a bully, and, of course, a coward 9. “I think the guy’s guilty. You could not chance my mind if you talked for a hundred years 10”. However, later on, when the odds of eleven-to-one guilty reduce to six-to-six not guilty, Juror 7 changes his vote, “just because”. When Juror 11, (who also believes in seeking justice because he suffered so much injustice 11), confronts him and asks him “Why did you change your vote? If you are changing your vote, you must have a reason, otherwise do not change it because others around you have”. Of course, Juror 7 had no answer, but only stammered back saying, “Who do you think you are? Look at this guy, eh, the nerve of him!”. Again, according to Sartre’s view, Juror 7’s actions show that he is selfish and only cares about himself. He has no opinion on this case and wants to leave as soon as possible.


In the jury room, at the beginning when everyone’s vote was fixated on guilty, there was one man, Juror 8, who had a choice to vote guilty but instead did the opposite because of reasonable doubt. He spent the next few hours correctly going over the evidence, showing a similar knife that he owned that the boy also used to kill his father. In addition, he recreated the old man’s steps, having it timed and matched it to the old man’s testimony and proved it invalid. Juror 8 is a quiet, thoughtful, gentleman – a man who sees all sides of very question and constantly seeks the truth. He is a man of strength tempered with compassion, wants justice to be done, and will fight to see that is 12. He alone convinced ten other jurors that the boy is guiltless, opened up that the impossible is possible and saved an innocent boy from going to the electric chair.

To sum up, 12 Angry Men portrays the prominent view on human nature that people are free to be whatever they want, according to Jean-Paul Sartre, who is an influential existentialist. He says that existence comes before essence and that “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. Such is the first principle of existentialism 13”. Such is seen in the movie with the different jurors. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. It was clear to see that all the jurors believed the boy was guilty was on what they heard, but they did not deliberate it. Most of them did not have an opinion and went along with what others said and others were too selfish to give a bit of their time to judge an innocent boy’s life. Take Juror 3 for example. As more light was shed on the evidence and jurors started having reasonable doubts, he remained thickheaded and truly believed the boy was guilty based on his personal experiences. He refused to reason with others and absolutely believed that he was right. He demanded an explanation from jurors who changed their votes. According to Sartre, Juror 3 would pose as a narcissistic sadist. In contrast, Juror 8 would pose as a sympathetic pleasant person who only wanted to take some time and talk about the evidence and save someone’s life from being misjudged. Even though making choices is inevitable, in the end, human beings are free to make their own choices and they alone are responsible for those choices. As Samuel Umen said, “Man is the most paradoxical of paradoxes. He is anomaly encased in an enigma. He is a bundle of contradictions 14”.


Bibliography:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, 14 –
Ellsworth, James, Laura Gini-Newman, and IlanChapter 2: Introducing Human Nature Danjoux. "Chapter 2 - Introducing Human Nature." Philosophy Questions and Theories. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2002. 25+.

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 –
Rose, Reginald. "Notes on Characters and Costumes." Twelve Angry Men: a Play in Three Acts. Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Pub., 1983. 4-5.
Return to 123HelpMe.com