Thursday, October 3, 2019

12 Angry Men by Sidney Lumet Essay Example for Free

12 Angry Men by Sidney Lumet Essay In the field of psychology and psychiatry, the trend has always been towards individual therapy. The trend in psychoanalysis has always focused in the individual that the individual role and participation in society has been deemed as secondary. However, recently the trend has been moving towards the group with consideration to an individual’s psychology having full bearing to the manner in which he interacts and participates in his society. Irvin D. Yalom has stated that there are 12 therapeutic factors involved in group psychotherapy. To be able to fully understand these concepts, a study of the movie 12 Angry Men will be analyzed in the point of view of Yalom’s factors. The movie 12 Angry Men by Sidney Lumet is about a jury of 12 men trying to decide the fate of an 18 year old boy who has been accused of murdering his own father. The whole movie takes place in the jury room where all 12 men are locked inside until such time that a unanimous verdict has been reached. The movie begins with 11 of the members of the jury voting that the child is guilty. The story then revolves on the process by which the 12th member, played by Henry Fonda, is able to change the verdict into a not guilty decision. See more:Â  The 3 Types of Satire Essay The movie becomes a perfect example of Yalom’s factors as well as group therapy as the dynamics that occur within the group slowly shows how each person’s subjective psychology and personality is brought into the interaction of the group which eventually finalizes the decision of the group. Four of Yalom’s factors are most apparent in the movie Group Cohesiveness, Interpersonal Learning, and Catharsis and Existential factors. Group cohesiveness. There are two kinds of cohesiveness and what differentiates the two is the reason for which that group stays together. The two kinds are emotion-related and task related. Emotion-related is the kind of group cohesion founded on emotional connection and feelings members have for the other members of the group. Task-related cohesion is founded on the goals that the group has set for themselves and the achievement of these goals is what makes the group cohesive. In the case of 12 Angry Men, the only similarity that these 12 men have is that they are all members of the jury for this particular case. In the beginning, as each member enters the room, a discussion of past jury duties are discussed and this duty served as a commonality between all the members of the jury. This commonality is a superficial factor that added to the group’s cohesion. The main factor is that they all share the same goal which is to reach a verdict. The cohesion of the group is further enforced by the fact that the door is locked and the group cannot leave until such time that they all agree on the verdict without contest. The locked door forced them to become cohesive as well as the duty to decide on the fate of the 18year old boy. Interpersonal Learning. Interpersonal learning can be achieved with either an input of information, wherein people learn from the feedback that the other members in the group provide, or from an output of information wherein the environment provides an outlet where members can interact with each other openly and adaptively. Without the output Interpersonal Learning, the ability for the members to open up will be hindered and thus input interpersonal learning will be greatly limited as the people will hold their thoughts and not give the proper feedback required for the others to be able to learn from the experience. In the case of the movie, the initial environment was conducive to any of the jury members to open up. As a matter of fact, the initial environment was quite aloof to the point of hostile. The hostility burst forth as one member dissented from the majority vote. This same factor that caused the hostility, however, is the same factor that created the environment for the members of the jury to open up. Because of Henry Fonda’s character who refused to give a guilty verdict, a discussion ensued which allowed every single person in that jury to give his reasoning as to why a guilty verdict should be decided upon. With every single justification, more information is given out by the people from which the others give a reaction. This reaction serves as the feedback required for people to learn from. Within the group there are passive members who just listen instead of fully participating in the interaction. Although, they remain passive, learning is still occurring. Through the interaction of the others in the group, individuals are allowed to assess their own beliefs passively in relation to the discussion going on. This passivity was most apparent in the characters of John Fiedler (Juror #2), Edward Binns (Juror #6) and Robert Webber (Juror #12). They were not fully active in the discussion but whose decisions were based on the learning that occurred due to the interaction of the other members around them. Catharsis. Catharsis is the purging of strong emotions regarding the past or the present. There are different ways to achieve catharsis. Some express their emotions through art and literature. The most common, however, is just simply talking about it and having a good cry about the situation. In the case of a group, catharsis can occur through the constant interaction that comes into a group. In a sense, to fully achieve catharsis in a group setting, interpersonal learning is required. It is only through an environment when people are open and are allowed to give feedbacks that the opportunity to let go of strong emotions occur. In the movie, 12 Angry Men, a lot of the jurors have their own personal problems. The characters of Lee Cobb (Juror #3), Jack Klugman (Juror #6), Ed Begley (Juror #10) and George Voskovec (Juror #11) all had strong emotions rooted in their past that was brought to the fore because of the case of the 18 year old boy and the discussion to reach a verdict. Klugman, Begley and Voskovec’s issues were mainly rooted in discrimination and prejudice. Klugman had issues about slum children being discriminated as criminals when he was brought up in the slums; Begley based on his experiences, had a strong prejudice against poor people; while Voskovec’s issues deal with the fact that like the poor he is being discriminated as a foreigner/immigrant. The one who achieved the strongest catharsis was the character of Cobb has he experienced problems with his own son and was still having problems with his son. With Cobb, he was trying to get his anger towards his son out on the 18 year old boy who he found ungrateful for killing his father. He didn’t care much about the facts but cared only of exacting his revenge towards ungrateful children on the accused. With the constant deliberation as to the verdict, eventually, the truth came out and he was able to fully purge his emotions and give a rational verdict of not guilty. His breakdown was a sign of his complete catharsis regarding the matter of his son as this showed the realization of his problem as well as the release of it. Existential factors. Existential factors refer to the group’s acceptance of life responsibilities. Initially, the jury was not accepting the responsibility of deciding on the life of the 18 year old boy. They casually decided that he was guilty simply because they had better things to do. It is only Henry Fonda’s character that made them realize the gravity of their decision. He alone made them accept the group’s responsibility over the life and death of an 18 year old boy. As this was accepted, the group in earnest was able to weigh the pros and cons of the situation, re-assess the case in depth as well as analyze their selves and their own lives and make a true decision based on all these factors that affect both their life and the life of the accused boy. In conclusion, the trend in psychology is changing from individual psychoanalysis to group psychotherapy and rightly so as in the present group interaction and group dynamics can be found in almost any institution of society. Moreover, these groups have a great bearing on the lives of the people both as individuals as well as a whole society. The movie 12 Angry Men is a perfect example of the necessity of group psychotherapy as well as an example of how the therapeutic factors work in a given situation for a group. Sometimes, these factors are unconsciously done without the presence of a supervisor or counselor as witnessed in the movie. Notwithstanding, the movie has shown how important it is to have group psychotherapy as there are times where a group can decide on whether or not a person should continue living or should be punished by death.

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