Study Guide

12 Angry Men Duty

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JUDGE: It's now your duty to sit down and try and separate the facts from the fancy.

Inn the movie's opening scene, the judge makes it perfectly clear that the jurors have a sacred duty in deciding the fate of an 18-year-old boy. And of all their duties, their most important one is to figure out what's real and what isn't.

JUDGE: You are faced with a grave responsibility. Thank you, gentlemen.

Before the jurors go into their deliberation room, the judge reminds them that they have a very important duty. After all, the judge will be forced to give the death penalty to anyone convicted of murder in the first degree

JUROR #11: What kind of a man are you?

When Juror #7 shows his true colors, Juror #11 wants to know what kind of man he is. After all, Juror #7 has confessed to voting for whatever verdict will get him out of the courthouse as quickly as possible. For Juror #11 (and hopefully for us), this is just about the most selfish way a person could ever act.

JUROR #11: You have sat here and voted guilty with everyone else because there are some baseball tickets burning a hole in your pocket.

Juror #7 might have expected a quick scolding, but #11 won't let him off the hook that easily. He goes on at great length about the man's responsibility, but even still, he doesn't seem to make much of a dent in the guy's selfishness. This is just another way in which the characters of this movie show their true colors over the course of the film.

JUROR #11: Who says you have the right to play like this with a man's life?

Juror #11 hasn't had much time to talk in this movie, so now is his time to shine. Juror #7 might think he doesn't have the right to talk this way, but Juror #11 quickly wipes away his objections and gets right up in his face. After all, he asks a pretty legit question when he asks what gives #7 the right to decide a person's life or death based on a couple of baseball tickets.

JUROR #11: If you want to vote not guilty, do it because you are convinced he is not guilty, not because you've had enough.

No matter what the verdict it, Juror #11 wants to make sure that Juror #7 votes with his conscience instead of his self-interest. Unfortunately, #11 doesn't actually have any way of forcing #7 to do this other than shaming him in front of everybody. At the end of the day, #7 probably still votes Not Guilty because he doesn't care one way or the other.

JUROR #8: There were eleven votes for guilty. It's not easy to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first.

Early in the movie, Juror #8 refuses to confirm the Guilty verdict. When asked why, he says he can't send someone to the electric chair without talking about it first. The others think he's just being foolish, but as we find out later on, he is right for holding things up.

JUROR #7: I honestly think the guy is guilty. Couldn't change my mind if you talked for 100 years.

At the beginning of the movie, Juror #7 says he thinks that the defendant is guilty and that he wouldn't change his mind in 100 years. But as we find out later, this guy's opinion is based solely on how fast he thinks he can get out of the courthouse. It's all just talk for this guy.

JUROR #8: This is somebody's life. We can't decide in five minutes.

Juror #8 isn't saying that the defendant is innocent. He's just saying that there's enough doubt in his mind to have a conversation about the verdict. In his mind, it would be immoral to send a kid to his death so quickly, regardless of how certain the evidence seemed.

JUROR #7: Supposin' we take five minutes? So what? Let's take an hour. The ball game doesn't start till eight o'clock.

Juror #7 is willing to have a little chat about the verdict, but only because he still thinks he'll get out of the jury room in time for his ballgame. The closer he gets to the ballgame, the more he decides that he's willing to give whatever verdict will get him out of the courthouse the quickest. In other words, he's more worried about setting himself free than the defendant's fate.

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