Everyone has their own methods for convincing people that their point of view is superior or right. In the film “12 Angry Men,” the twelve jurors are tasked with determining whether a murder suspect is guilty or not based on the facts at hand. Each juror expresses their thoughts and testimony to help reach a decision in favor of the murder suspect. Each juror has made a contribution to this story, especially jurors three, seven, and ten, and I will clarify their importance in the film critically. This study paper would focus on Juror No. 8’s methods and contributions to the bench, as well as the rhetorical and literary words he employs. To start with, juror 8 uses Apodioxis to oppose his fellow jurors by rejecting their ideas and stating them as absurd. Juror 8 opposes the opinion of other jurors when they vote for the boy being guilty without discussing the matter; he says he wants to talk a little before making conclusions. Juror 8 believes that majority is not always right and that’s why despite all other jurors voting the boy is guilty he puts his hand down and doesn’t allow his emotions to control his decisions. Additionally, he uses proper etiquette when opposing someone’s idea for example when juror 9 comments that what juror 3 said was dangerous; juror 8 places his arm on him rather than shouting for him to stop talking (Rose, 5). Use of these proves juror eight not only believes in his ideas but also create time to review available information before concluding.
Furthermore, juror 8 uses antanagoge when faced with harsh accusations. Rather than answering the questions or point raised juror eight comes up with other counteracting idea opposing other jurors’ proposals. For instance, when juror 4 tells juror eight that he wants them to believe that someone else picked the knife on the street and stabbed the boy’s father just for fun, he answers by saying similar knife could have been used to stab the boy’s father since its possible the boy lost his knife (Rose, 9). This term is also used by juror 10 when he was asked by juror eight why he believed the woman who is also from slums, rather than answering the question juror eight sarcastically asks juror eight whether he is a smart fellow (Rose, 6). When replying to juror 4, juror 8 uses antanagoge when he says he does not want other jurors to accept his idea but he just meant it is possible for it to be a coincidence that another knife was for murder the second point reduces the impact of the first one (Rose, 9). The main reason for using good points to oppose the critics raised is to help reduce the incidence or significance of the negative point raised.
Anadiplosis and apodixis rhetorical terms are expressed by juror 8 when explaining his point to other jurors. He uses anadiplosis by repeating the last word as the first word in the next sentence and also describes the witness information as a common knowledge thus demonstrating apodixis. For instance, apodixis is expressed when he repeats what was heard by the old man about boy’s remarks that he was going to kill his father. Therefore, he asks fellow jurors if that was the testimony and this is common knowledge to all of them since they were in court (Rose, 14). Example for anadiplosis is when juror eight is clarifying the evidence given in court, i.e., the remarks heard by the old man that boy was going to kill his father and after a short while the body fell. Juror 8 repeats the words ‘one second’ when starting the next sentence (Rose, 14). The advantage of using the apodixis is to let people relate with shared information and understand it in a more precise manner since you emphasize it when you repeat yourself and thus attracting their attention.
Besides, he uses anamnesis, Conduplicatio, and Diasyrmus to express his point and emphasis it while comparing witness situation with what jurors do. Although this comparison is taken as a silly one by his fellows, juror 8 succeed to make a point using them and influences juror five who changes his vote to ‘not guilty.’ For example, juror 8 quotes what the elderly man heard the boy speak, ‘I’m going to kill you,’ and for this matter, the old man is an authority since his testimony is part of the evidence in the case (Rose, 14). Additionally, juror 8 uses this phrase repeatedly in different scenarios to make sure every juror relates to it. Moreover, he uses Diasyrmus when he says that every juror has used the words referred to the one boy said about killing his father yet they never meant to kill someone (Rose, 16). All these rhetorical terms help demonstrate a point more understandably although he is also faced by a lot of disagreement from juror 3,7 and 10 when he uses these terms.
Exemplum is used severally in the act by juror 8 to help other jurors to understand his argument. Use of demonstration or example back up or supports the idea since people can relate with it easily thus getting the point being discussed. For instance, juror 8 uses exemplum when demonstrating how an old man could not move from the bed to the front door in 15 seconds and this helps other jurors to understand his point (Rose, 19). The illustrations and examples help change the mind of jurors except that of 3,4 and 10 (Rose, 26). Additionally, use of exergasia by juror 8 to express that the boy is not guilty have helped him to be understood and get support from other jurors, for example, foreman,2,5,6,7,8,9 and 11 (Rose, 27). Finally, juror 8 persuades other jurors by using Kairos and exquisitely organizing his demonstrations and distributions, e.g., presentation of the knife he bought (Rose, 9). Above terms demonstrates that use of examples, perfect timing of submissions and exaggerating of points is an effective way to make people believe your opinion is right.
In conclusion, juror 8 plays a role of breaking down the facts raised to make other jurors understand them better so they can have a fair verdict. He builds a reasonable doubt in other eleven jurors even juror 3, despite juror eight being alone when the vote was taken first. Additionally, he gives others the courage to stand firm on what they believe is right without fearing the intimidation of others. Besides, he uses a low tone, and his approach is very calm and respectful, and this attracts support from other jurors when opposing juror attacks him. Furthermore, he gives others an eye opener so they can remember even other small details which they assumed were not significant. For instance, the fact that the woman who is a witness was wearing glasses and had moved to bed before the murder happened thus, she couldn’t be wearing her eyeglasses. This film was very entertaining and educative as it taught me not everything is as it seems and every time facts and evidence should be considered before making a judgment.
Rose, Reginald. Twelve angry men: a play. Dramatic Pub Co, 1955, pp. 1-30