In the movie “Twelve Angry Men,” there were many examples of primary group roles. Each jury member had an informal role they played within the group, which influenced the final outcome of the jury’s decision for the court case. The four jury members that really exemplified their group roles were #8, #7, #1 and #3. Juror #8 was the calm architect who was the only one to vote “not guilty,” for the first vote. A major role he played was the initiator-contributor.
This role is defined in our book as a person who “offers lots of ideas and suggestions; proposes solutions and new directions. ” Juror #8 proved himself to be this role throughout the movie. He was the only one who voted against the rest of the men, not to gain attention to himself, but to give the boy on trial a chance. He also raised many questions to the other men and tried to make them look at the trial in a new way. The architect did this by showing them the knife he purchased that was the same as the boy’s knife, and by demonstrating how slow the old man witness would walk.
If it wasn’t for juror #8, the boy on trial wouldn’t have gotten a fair chance at being found innocent. Juror #7 was another man who played a very distinct role in the movie, which was the clown. Being the clown means the person is using humor to take attention away from the task at hand, possibly for attention on himself, or to lighten the overall mood. From the minute he appeared in the movie, you could assume he was the clown by the way he was dressed. Also throughout the movie he was cracking jokes to try and lighten the mood.
An example of him displaying himself as the clown, was when he was throwing the paper balls at the fan. It distracted the men from the task at hand and added a lighter mood to the room for a short while. If this juror paid more attention to the task at hand, instead of trying to be the clown, the decision would have possibly been made quicker. Another role that was displayed in this movie was a facilitator, shown by juror #1 who was the foreman. A facilitator guides the discussion, and keeps the group on task. His job was to set the standards on how the group of men ere to function during the discussion. Although he didn’t show as much enthusiasm and opinions as the other men, he would keep the other men on task if the conversation were getting out of hand. Another thing he did, was decide how the voting was going to take place (raising hands;write it down). The foreman was also in charge of asking for the evidence when the men asked for it. His role was very important to the outcome of the trial because he kept everyone on track so they could decide on a conclusion easier and quicker.
Juror #3 portrayed a major role in the movie which was the cynic. A cynic is someone who focuses on the negatives and has a bad attitude throughout the group’s meeting. From the beginning, he thought the boy was guilty and deserved the death penalty. He had no sympathy to the boy, and only focused on the negative pieces of evidence showing that the boy was guilty. Every time he said something, he was interrupting someone else’s idea to yell about how they were wrong, and they boy was guilty.
His loud and negative attitude could have forced ideas on some of the men. Eventually he was the last one to say the boy was guilty, until he finally gave up because everyone else made him realize he was wrong and being cynical. A jury is supposed to be 12 people that are peers of the defendant. The definition of a peer is a person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications, age, background culture, and social status. The 12 men in the movie were not definitions of peers to the boy on trial.
The boy was 18 years old, poor, and Indian. The jury members were middle class, middle aged white men. The only juror that had any chance of being a peer to the defendant was juror #5 because he also grew up in the slums, but that isn’t enough similarity to call them peers. If there had been more cultural diversity in the jury, I think the initial vote would have been closer to a 6-6 tie rather than a 11-1 vote against the defendant. They would have had more sympathy and knowledge of the boys background.