12 Angry Men is a story of twelve jurors responsible for deliberating and deciding the fate of a teenage boy accused of murdering his father. Although it seems to the jurors that the boy is unquestionably guilty, one juror (Juror 8) speaks out against the comfortable groupthink of the other jurors. Juror 8, Henry Fonda, approaches the issue from a teamwork point of view, and over and over again gains acceptance his views as he calmly and realistically discusses what he believed are inconsistencies in the case. This movie is an excellent example of how one person standing up against popular groupthink can, in fact, influence the rest of the group to his way of thinking and help them overcome The Spiral of Silence Theory. There are also many underlying issues of power and control/leadership throughout the film, resulting in multiple conflicts and confrontations.
The jurors in 12 Angry Men possessed a lot of the same qualities that would typically lead to groupthink. For example, the majority of the jurors had a belief in the moral accuracy of their own decisions, that they were punishing a ‘bad’ person. They also had a stereotypical outlook on those who opposed their views, resulting in a feeling of pressure to conform. When a group like the jurors becomes too confident, it keeps them from being able to deal realistically and clearly about the task at hand. This is when groupthink occurs. Because of this, it takes a longer time to communicate and, more importantly, to reach a consensus. Group agreement can be time consuming and, when groups make speed of verdict a priority, similar to the twelve jurors, they risk accuracy in their decision-making. Due to the fact that not any one individual is fully responsible for the decision, people have a tendency to agree to faster, more intense solutions.
Juror 8, Henry Fonda, refused to fall into groupthink and in the end saved an innocent boy’s life. Henry admitted that he did not know whether the accused boy was...
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