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. Davis (juror #8) takes his responsibility to carry out justice seriously. We learn early on that he is the only one to initially vote not guilty. He seems to fully understand the concept of reasonable doubt and the value of human life. Throughout the deliberations he uses ethos, pathos and logos along with a calm and respectful demeanor to get the other eleven men to change their minds. He makes everyone believe that he entered the jury room having not decided whether the boy is guilty and we are never sure if he is convincing himself or the other jurors.
In the jury room while the majority of the jurors are talking about the case with one another Davis is looking out the window reflectively thinking. We hear many discuss how the case is open and shut, preconceived notions about the accused and that more than one juror wants to get it over with as quickly as possible. The first vote for a verdict is taken and while some hesitate to raise their hand, all but one votes guilty. Davis is the only one to raise his hand for not guilty. When men question, make a few snide comments and ask if he really believes he’s not guilty he simply states, “ I don’t know.” In the conversation that follows he admits it wasn’t easy to...
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...f she wore eyeglasses, she wouldn’t sleep in them and she testified she had just been awakened.
Many times during the film the jury takes a recount of votes and slowly the tide turns. Reasonable doubt is spreading as the facts or lack of concrete facts emerges. During the entire film it appears that Davis is trying to decide what he thinks about the case and he is taking his fellow jurors on a ride to dissect the ideas and evidence one piece at a time. He shows signs of respect, he thoughtfully considers the opposition and he asks questions to provoke his peers to consider the possibilities. He is most definitely a critical thinker who relates well to others even when they are prejudice, arrogant or even merciless. It is these skills along with the moral courage to stand alone that enables the jury of 12 to eventually stand together and offer justice to the accused.
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