(1) (1) - Extra Credit Assignment TWELVE ANGRY MEN Essay...

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Unformatted text preview: Extra Credit Assignment – TWELVE ANGRY MEN Essay Please view the movie, TWELVE ANGRY MEN, and type a five-­‐paragraph (no more than two page) essay on the following question: Do you believe the boy on trial in the movie is guilty or not guilty? Support your conclusion with evidence provided during the jury deliberation, as well as your own assumptions. Instructions • Consider the 12 jurors, the judge and the defendant when planning your essay. • Key points to consider: personal prejudice and bias, stereotypes, attitude and personality, time period, location, political climate, environment, and, yes, even the weather. • Use specific quotes from the film to support your opinions. • Describe the jurors carefully when referring to one of them in particular. • Use active verbs. • The paper should be typed, #12 font, justified, and double spaced. • Edit carefully. • Do not summarize the film. ++++++ PLOT OVERVIEW of TWELVE ANGRY MEN: TWELVE ANGRY MEN is set in 1957 in the jury room of a New York City Court of Law. It is late afternoon on a hot, muggy summer’s day. As the play opens, the judge’s voice is heard offstage, giving instructions to the jury. “ ... And now, gentlemen of the jury, I come to my final instructions to you. Murder in the first degree – premeditated homicide – is the most serious charge tried in our criminal courts. You’ve listened to the testimony and you’ve had the law read to you and interpreted it as it applies to this case. It now becomes your duty to try and separate the facts from the fancy. One man is dead. The life of another is at stake. I urge you to deliberate honestly and thoughtfully. If there is a reasonable doubt – then you must bring me a verdict of ‘not guilty’. If, however, there is no reasonable doubt – then you must, in good conscience, find the accused guilty. However you decide, your verdict must be unanimous. In the event you find the accused guilty, the bench will not entertain a recommendation for mercy. The death sentence is mandatory in this case. I don’t envy you your job. You are faced with a grave responsibility. Thank you, gentlemen.” The accused is a sixteen year-­‐old boy from the slums on trial for allegedly stabbing his father to death. He has admitted to buying a knife on the night in question but claims that he lost it. The jury room is unbearably hot with no air conditioning. Some of the jurors are irritable within minutes of entering the jury room. The results of the first vote are 11 guilty and 1 not guilty. Juror #8 defends his not guilty vote despite the criticisms of Jurors #3, #7 and #12, saying that he will not send a boy to his death without talking about it first. After BUS 110 (Summer II 2015) Page 1 of 4 Extra Credit Assignment – TWELVE ANGRY MEN Essay some argument, they agree to discuss the facts of the case. Juror #3 reviews what they know. An old man who lives underneath the room where the murder took place heard loud noises just after midnight. He heard the son yell at the father that he was going to kill him. Then he heard a body falling and moments later, saw the boy running out. Juror #4 says the boy’s story of being at the movies at the time is flimsy because no one remembers seeing him there. Also, a woman living opposite looked out her window and saw the murder through the windows of a passing elevated train. Further facts emerged: the father regularly beat his son, and the son had been arrested for car theft, mugging and knife fighting. He had been sent to reform school. Juror #8 insists that during the trial too many questions were not asked. Could have someone else have stabbed the boy’s father with a similar knife and could the boy be telling the truth? When the jurors insist the knife is too unusual, he produces the same one. A secret vote is called for during which Juror #8 abstains from voting. There are now 10 guilty votes and one not guilty. Juror #3 is angry with Juror #5, assuming he is the one who changed his vote. In fact, the not guilty vote was cast by Juror #9, who says he wants to hear more discussion of the case. Pressured by Juror #8, the jury agrees it would take about ten seconds for a noisy train to pass by the apartment so the old man could not have heard the boy yell that he was going to kill his father, which he may not have even meant since people use those words all the time without really meaning them. Convinced by these arguments, Juror #5 changes his vote to not guilty, making the vote nine to three. Juror #8 questions the testimony of the old man – how is it possible that it took him only fifteen seconds to get downstairs, open the front door and see the boy fleeing since he cannot walk very well. Using a diagram of the apartment, he acts out the old man’s steps and is timed at forty-­‐two seconds, concluding that the old man must have heard rather than seen someone running down the stairs and assumed it was the boy. Juror #3 insists the boy is guilty and deserves to be executed. When Juror #8 accuses him of being a sadist, Juror #3 lunges at him and threatens to kill him. Juror #8’s calm response is that perhaps Juror #3 does not really mean what he said. The jurors take another vote, an open one, and the result is an even split – six to six. The possibility of a hung jury is brought up, meaning that a new trial would have to be held and their responsibilities would be over. Juror #2 raises a question about the fatal wound being caused by a downward thrust of the knife, an awkward action because the son is six inches shorter than his father was. Juror #3 demonstrates on Juror #8 how it could be done, crouching down to approximate the boy’s height and then raising the knife and making a downward stabbing motion. Juror #5, who has witnessed knife fights, says that anyone using a switchblade would use it underhand, stabbing upward, making it unlikely that the boy, who was an experienced knife fighter, could have caused the fatal wound. Another vote is taken with the result being nine to three BUS 110 (Summer II 2015) Page 2 of 4 Extra Credit Assignment – TWELVE ANGRY MEN Essay in favour of acquittal. Juror #10 goes off on a prejudiced rant about how all people from the slums are liars and have no respect for human life. Juror #8 reminds them all that it is hard to keep personal prejudice out of people’s opinions, and that prejudice obscures the truth. Juror #4 still insists that the boy is guilty, reminding them of the most important testimony of the woman who was in bed unable to sleep when she looked out her window and saw the boy stab his father. It is determined that the woman wears glasses from several jury members’ observations of her in court, and, that since no one wears their glasses to bed, she would not have had time to put them on to clearly see what she had claimed to have seen. The votes are now eleven to one. Only Juror #3 insists on a guilty verdict, but when he sees that he stands alone and cannot change anyone else’s mind, he, too, votes “not guilty”. The jury has reached a unanimous decision. The boy is acquitted. ++++++ ABOUT THE CHARACTERS Juror #1 is the Foreman of the jury. He is serious about his role and tries to run the proceedings in an orderly fashion, reminding the jurors “Just let’s remember we’ve got a first degree murder charge here. If we vote guilty, we send the accused to the electric chair.” Juror #2 is timid, quiet and unsure of himself, finding it hard to maintain an independent opinion until he finds the courage to point out an important question about how the murder was actually committed. Juror #3 is the antagonist. He is a forceful, intolerant bully who sees the case as simple and believes the accused is absolutely guilty. He is quick to lose his temper. His desire to convict and punish the defendant is directly related to his feelings of anger and betrayal in regard to his poor relationship with his own son. Juror #4 is a stockbroker, well-­‐dressed, logical and well-­‐spoken. He urges his fellow jurors to avoid emotional arguments in favor of rational discussion. He also believes strongly in the defendant’s guilt until the one piece of evidence on which he bases his vote is discredited. Juror #5 is a young man who is nervous about expressing his views, particularly in front of the older members of the jury. When two jurors talk disparagingly of kids from slum backgrounds, he finally speaks up, saying he has lived in a slum all his life. He has witnessed knife fights, an experience that will later help other jurors change their opinions about the guilt of the accused. Juror #6 is a housepainter, a man who is used to working with his hands rather than analyzing with his brain. He is more of a listener than a talker. He does, however, stand up BUS 110 (Summer II 2015) Page 3 of 4 Extra Credit Assignment – TWELVE ANGRY MEN Essay to the bully, Juror #3 when he speaks rudely to Juror #9, an old man, threatening to hit Juror #3 if he ever speaks to the old man like that again. Juror #7 is a slick, obnoxious salesman whose only concern is to get the deliberations over quickly so he can get to that evening’s baseball game. He assumes that the defendant is guilty and has no interest in discussing it. At one point he makes some prejudiced remarks about immigrants in reference to Juror #11. Juror #8 is a quiet, thoughtful man whose main concern is that justice be done. An architect by profession, he is the first juror to vote “not guilty” on the very first ballot. He is a natural leader who does not argue that the accused is innocent, only that he cannot condemn someone to death without discussing the case first. As he probes the evidence, he manages to cast reasonable doubt on many aspects of the evidence given during the trial. Although the evidence may suggest guilt, it is possible that there are other explanations for what happened on the night of the murder. Juror #9 is a mild, gentle old man. He is the first to agree with Juror #8 and change his vote to not guilty, saying that he wants a fuller discussion of the case since he is convinced there is not enough evidence to sentence the accused boy to death for allegedly murdering his father. Juror # 10, who runs three garages, is a bitter racist. He is prejudiced against anyone who comes from a slum. He believes strongly that the defendant is guilty because he insists that people from slums are all drunks and liars who fight all the time. Juror #11 is a watchmaker, an immigrant from Europe. Having witnessed great injustices in his home country, he feels fortunate to be living in a country known for its democracy and he has great respect for the American judicial system. He takes his responsibility as a juror very seriously. Juror #12 works for an advertising agency. He is arrogant and impatient, anxious for the trial to be over so he can return to his career and social life. He is clever, but sees people as statistics rather than human beings. BUS 110 (Summer II 2015) Page 4 of 4 ...
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