The Word To The Jurors: Leader Who Manipulates

The word to the jurors: leader who manipulates

The word to the jurors is a dramatic work by the author Reginald Rose. The initial script was intended for television, but was later adapted for film and theater.

Reginald Rose was born in the United States, in the 50s of the last century he dedicated himself to writing screenplays (mainly intended for television). From his stories, through which he provides a clear and precise picture of the collective reality, the interest in the highly controversial social and political issues of the time shines through.

His most famous work is certainly The word to the jurors , in which he highlights how complicated it is for human beings (not very objective by nature) to discern between feelings and reality. The television series aired in 1954; later the author adapted it for the theater where it met with great success among the public. Finally, in 1957 the film inspired by the same work was shot, directed by Sidney Lumet. It is one of the films that best represents the combination of television, theater and cinema.

The leitmotif of the complex plot is represented by a jury of 12 men, very different from each other, who must come to an agreement to determine whether the accused is guilty or innocent. The charge is of manslaughter and what they decree will have important consequences.

In front of the twelve men, a magistrate declares the trial of an 18-year-old boy accused of killing his father concluded, and asks the jury members to withdraw to deliberate the verdict. If the boy is eventually found guilty, he will be sentenced to electric chair on first degree murder charges.

Just when it seems that it will take very little time to reach a guilty verdict, one of them confesses that he is not entirely sure and claims the presence of the so-called “reasonable doubt”, for which one is required to reconsider any accusation. The person who opposes the majority’s thinking sets out their arguments and requests a new vote to see if anyone else has changed their mind. Vote after vote, doubts, which at first seemed buried under apparent clarity, begin to surface.

Actors speak to the jurors

At that point the jury decides to reconsider their verdict and re-examine the case in more depth. Jurors discuss the evidence presented, statements made by witnesses and come to new conclusions.

In the course of the deliberation, the famous jurors who have the last word bring their fears to the surface, tell their life experiences, bare their personalities and explain the prejudices that lead them to support their point of view.

The word to the jurors: how a leader manages to overturn the verdict

“Reasonable doubt” exists when all jury members intend to deliberate hastily, reaching a guilty verdict. During the first ballot, which was quick and rather hasty, all but one of the jury members found the accused guilty.

It is precisely at that moment that we see the leadership capacity of the juror who thinks differently: he proves capable of persuading the other members of the group, who will gradually begin to doubt the guilt of the young accused. This character who “lights the fuse” has all the characteristics that a good leader should possess.

He knows how to listen to others

Throughout the film, the protagonist listens carefully to each of the opinions, without falling into the temptation to interrupt the argumentation of the other members of the jury. Listening to others allows him to gather information, identify problems, make decisions and resolve conflicts.

He is able to make his colleagues feel important, he makes them feel an integral part of the jury, because he knows that by doing so it is easier for them to commit themselves to being able, little by little, to abound the comfortable position of those who make a decision without pondering and to participate. to the debate.

He is assertive

The jurors would like to close the matter as soon as possible. However, our protagonist goes against the grain and expresses his disagreement. It is not easy to clash with the opinion of the majority. The risk is that his colleagues, called to judge the accused, will end up judging him instead.

Nevertheless, a leader does not give up expressing his sincere opinion, beyond the inertia of the social current. He is aware of his responsibility and takes it upon himself, even at the cost of finding himself in an uncomfortable position. Furthermore, a good leader must be able to remind others of the consequences of collective decisions.

Directs, coordinates and moderates

The film’s protagonist moderates discussions between jury members, manages and resolves conflicts, and makes sure communication is smooth and effective. This film is a great example for those who find themselves in a position to convince others through arguments, regardless of whether their authority comes from different sources, such as greater prestige or a longer experience.

Jury argues

He is honest

In  A Word to the Jurors, we don’t see a stubborn leader. In the first ballot, vote in favor of the accused’s innocence to open a debate, not simply to take a stand. The reasons for making this choice are various. He knows that by not opposing the majority opinion there will be no debate.

Therefore, he proves honest. He does not close, on the contrary, he expresses his doubts. Explain to others that he does not know what to vote for and that he would like to hear the arguments of those who have a well-defined opinion. In this way he manages to involve everyone else, which would hardly have happened if he had decided to face them directly.

Sincerity is the best tool for clarifying doubts and resolving conflicts that arise between jurors in an attempt to reach a verdict.

Analyze and solve

Over the course of  The Jurors’ Talk, you can see how the leader takes the opportunity to unearth new evidence that instills doubts in the rest of the group. Taking advantage of his analytical skills and because he really knows how to deal with people, he tries to provide an objective vision of the facts.

It is obvious that in the presence of the reasonable doubt discussed in the film, one can not help but acquit the accused, but it is still difficult to discern between what is probable and what is possible, so the director leaves the viewer to think. what he deems most correct.

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