12 Angry Men Essay Research Paper Identifying
An elderly witness says he heard the accused boy say, “I’m going to kill you” to his father, but several of the jurors believe this elder witness could not have heard the boy. An elder juror states that the man might have said this “to be important.” The elder juror states:
It was just that I looked at him for a very long time. The seam of his jacket was split just under his shoulder, or did you notice that. To come to court like that. He was a very old man in a torn jacket and he walked slowly to the stand. He was dragging his left leg and trying to hide it cause he was ashamed. I think I know this man better than anyone here. This is a quiet man, silent insignificant old man, who has been nothing his whole life. And has never had recognition or his name in newspapers. Nobody knows him, nobody quotes him and nobody seeks his advice after 75 years. Gentleman that is a very sad thing to be nothing. A man like this needs to be quoted to be listened to, to be quoted just once. It’s very important to him. It will be so hard for him to recede into the background He wouldn’t really lie, but perhaps he made himself believe he heard those words and recognized the face.
This juror is using persuasive language. He is attempting to persuade or convince someone by appealing to reasons. First he says that the man has been nothing his whole life, that he has never had recognition or his name in newspapers. Second, he says the elderly witness needs to be quoted just once so that he will feel important. Third, he states that an old man wouldn’t want to recede into the background and become a man who amounts to nothing. The juror uses these reasons to justify his belief that the elderly witness made himself believe he heard those words and recognized the face.
Analyzing and Evaluating Arguments
2. When the elderly man says he heard the boy say, “I’m going to kill you.” Some jurors believe the elderly man could not have heard this. Several of the jurors bring up points to prove that elderly man did not hear the boy. First, the old man who lived downstairs said he heard the kid yell out “I’m going to kill you.” A second later he said he heard the body hit the floor. Now he ran to the door and he saw the kid running down the stairs and out the house. A few of the jurors could not understand how the old man could here the boy’s voice from the ceiling, but quickly one of the jurors pointed out that since it was a hot night the windows had been open. Although, some jurors believe that it would be hard to identify the voice from another apartment, particularly a shouting voice. Juror #8 begins to remember that an El Train was directly next to the apartment and was running that night. He begins to convince the other jurors by stating that a six car El Train takes about 10 seconds to pass any given point. Imagine that the given point is the open window where the killing took place. Now the old man says he heard the boy say, “I am going to kill you” and a second later heard the body hit the floor. The woman across the street said she was the boy kill his father through the last two cars of the El Train. The El Train had no passengers; it was only being moved so the train lights were out. It was proved that you could see through an El Train when the lights are out. The body hit the floor just as the El Train passed by, therefore, the train had been roaring by the old man’s window for a full 10 seconds before the body hit the floor. According to the old man’s testimony, he would have had to hear the boy make this statement with the El Train roaring past his apartment. Juror #8 asked any of the other jurors if they lived by an El Track. Juror #6 said he had been painting a house that overlooked an El Line, while juror #8 states that he used to live in an apartment on the second floor, and when the window was open as an El Train passed by you could barely hear yourself think because the noise was so loud. It would not be probable for the old man to have heard the voice, let alone identify it.
Evaluating the Argument: This argument sufficiently establishes that the conclusion has explanatory clarity. That is, it provides enough evidence to infer that the elderly witness probably did not hear the boy say, “I’m going to kill you.” First, an El Train was directly next to the apartment and had been running that night. Second, juror #8 states that he lived next to an El Track and when the window was open as an El Track passed by you could barely hear yourself think because the noise was so loud. Third, it takes an El Train about 10 seconds to pass any given point. Fourth, the body hit the floor just as the El Train passed by, therefore, the train had been roaring past the old man’s window for a full 10 seconds before the body hit the floor and according to the man, the boy said, “I am going to kill you” and a second later the body hit the floor. All these premises are establishing explanatory clarity by confirming the conclusion, therefore, there is enough confirming evidence to believe that the conclusion is probably true.
4. While the jurors were arguing over the case, juror #4 took off his eyeglasses and rubbed his nose. Juror #9 notices that he has some marks on his nose and that the woman who testified had those same marks. She kept rubbing them in court. Juror #9 notes that the woman was probably 45 years old, but she was trying to make herself look younger. She wore heavy make-up, died her hair, and had brand new clothes on that should have been worn by a younger woman. She did not wear eyeglasses, but many women do that. Juror #9 asks juror #4 if those marks could be made by anything other than eyeglasses. He states that they could not have been made by anything other than eyeglasses. Juror #9 points out the woman’s eyesight is now in question. Juror #3, fed up with the old man’s unrelated questions, begins to argue that even if she didn’t want to wear them out of the house so people would think she is gorgeous, when she saw the kid killing his father, she was in the house alone, therefore, she saw the boy clearly and her eyesight is not in question. Juror #9 asks juror #4 if he wears eyeglasses to bed, and he stated that no one wears eyeglasses to bed. Juror #8 states that the woman said she was tossing and turning because she could not fall asleep. Also, that she probably didn’t put eyeglasses on as she looked outside the window and that she testified that the killing took place just as she looked out. The lights went out immediately after the killing. She could not have had enough time to put her eyeglasses on. Juror #8 explains that the woman probably just saw a blur and thought it was the boy.
Evaluating the Argument: This argument sufficiently establishes that the conclusion has explanatory clarity. That is, it does provide enough evidence to infer the woman probably did not see the boy kill his father, but instead a blur. First, the woman had marks on her nose, which could not have been from anything other than eyeglasses, as juror #4 said. Second, she was trying to make herself look younger, so she did not wear the eyeglasses into court. Third, no one wears eyeglasses to bed and she could not have had enough time to put her eyeglasses on, since the killing look place just as she looked out the window, and immediately after the lights went out. The argument presents enough evidence to doubt the woman’s eyesight. Since her eyesight is in question, it would be difficult to say that she could identify the boy clearly, who was in the next apartment, at least forty feet away, in the dark, through the last two cars of a passing El Train.
Example One: Juror #10 explains that the other jurors should not believe the kid because all kids lie:
You know how these people lie; it’s born in them. They don’t know what the truth is. They don’t need any reason to kill anyone. They get drunk, they are real big drinkers and then someone is lying in the gutter. Nobody’s blaming them for it. It’s their nature. They’re violent. They are fighting all the time and they don’t care. This kid is a liar and I know it. I know all about them. They are no good not a one that is any good. This kid on trial, don’t you know their type? They are dangerous.
Fallacies of relevance are premises that do not attempt to address the argument’s issue. The issue at hand is the jurors should vote guilty, regardless of the testimonies, because this kid is a liar and he is a danger to society. Since none of the premises attempt to address the argument’s issue, this is an example of a fallacy. Specifically, this juror is arguing that the other jurors should believe this kid is a liar because he knows all about them. This is a testimonial example because the premise is based upon relying on the authority of the juror giving the argument.
Example Two: Juror #10 is explaining that they need to get rid of the immigrants in the world and that this kid on trial can be the first to go:
They come over here illegally and multiply five times faster than my people. They are wild animals. They’re against us and hate us. They want to destroy us. They come over here and benefit from everything we built. We are living in a dangerous time. If we don’t smack them down, if we don’t do something every chance we get then they’re going to own us, bread us out of existence. This boy, this boy on trial, we got him, we got him. That’s one at least! I say that we get him before his kind gets us. I don’t give a damn about the law, why should I. They don’t. We can make a difference.
This example, similar to the one above, is a fallacy because it fails to contain premises that address the argument’s issue. First, the juror is trying to persuade the others that they should vote guilty because this boy is an immigrant coming into the country and creating trouble for the rest of society. Second, he explains that this boy that is on trial is one immigrant that they can get rid of by giving a verdict of guilty. The issue of whether this kid is an immigrant is not relevant to the conclusion of the argument. He is taking this case personally because he feels that the immigrants will take over. None of his reasons are related to the issue at hand. This is also an example of testimonial fallacies because the conclusion of voting guilty is based upon this authority of juror #10.