12 Angry Men Rhetorical Analysis

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Twelve Angry Men is in many ways a love letter to the American legal justice system. We find here eleven men, swayed to conclusions by prejudices, past experience, and short-sightedness, challenged by one man who holds himself and his peers to a higher standard of justice, demanding that this marginalized member of society be given his due process. We see the jurors struggle between the two, seemingly conflicting, purposes of a jury, to punish the guilty and to protect the innocent. It proves, however, that the logic of the American trial-by-jury system does work.
On another level, the play is about America and its makeup as a melting pot of different cultures, ideas, beliefs, and temperaments. This jury runs the gamut from a German immigrant watchmaker, 11th Juror, to a presumably wealthy broker, 4th Juror, to a male nurse at a Harlem hospital, who grew up in the slums, 5th Juror. These men represent the incredible richness of diversity in America and the various challenges that it presents. This clash
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8th juror appeals to their sense of pathos and pity by saying “this boy’s been kicked around all his life…He’s had a pretty terrible sixteen years. I think maybe we owe him a few words. That’s all.” While this has nothing to do with the case, he hopes to appeal to their humanity in order to get them to give him a chance in these deliberations. Many of the jurors use logos, logic and reasoning, to lay out the evidence in a rational and concrete manner to convince him. An example is when 4th Juror lays out all of the evidence of the knife to convince 8th Juror with seven, linear, factual points. The reader and audience is meant to connect a sense of ethos, reliability or competence, to 8th Juror, as he is the only one who doesn’t, at first, seem to be clouded by ignorance, racism, disinterest, or any other characteristic that might cloud
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