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Compares Justice In Billy Budd, And Twelve Angry Men

639 words - 3 pages

Changing VerdictsThe trials in both Billy Budd and Twelve Angry Men have a 'jury' of sorts, and in each story, the members of these juries are virtually unanimous in their decision, but one person remains who would vote against his/her fellow jurors. As it happens, both juries completely change the verdict from what it appeared each jury would have originally voted. I hope to show you the similarities/differences of these two stories by exposing biased verdicts and the fact that one person changed the final verdict in both cases.The trial of Billy Budd is a quick one, but quite a lot of decision-making takes place. Three of the officers on Billy's ship (the Drumhead Corps) are trying to come to a decision as to what should be done about the murder of Claggart. They know Billy is guilty of the ...view middle of the document...

I feel as you do for this unfortunate boy. But did he know our hearts, I take him to be of that generous nature that he would feel even for us on whom in this military necessity so heavy a compulsion laid (Melville 70).All of the members of the DC change their verdicts when they realize that they have been biased from the beginning of the trial; consequently, Budd is hanged for his misdeed. The DC simply put the law to use in place of justice.The jury of Twelve Angry Men consisted of a slightly different bias. Immediately after the trial, the members of the jury gather to cast a preliminary verdict, which, at the time, they thought would be a final verdict. The secret ballots were cast and the score was 12 - 1 in favor of guilty. It turns out that juror number eight (#8) voted 'not guilty' because he felt there was reasonable doubt. Through a series of arguments, #8 exposed the prejudices of the remaining jurors and helped them to make an unbiased decision.Both cases also have a major difference: the way in which the individual who turns the verdict around persuades others to change their votes. In Billy Budd, Captain Vere uses his supreme powers of logical persuasion the sway the DC's verdict. He explains to them that just because a good person does a bad thing, doesn't mean that he should be excused for it. Juror 8 in Twelve Angry Men also uses the same tactics, but in a slightly different way. His tactics are friendlier, and persuade the jury to be more compassionate, instead of less.As you may have been made aware of by now, there are many similarities and differences in the two stories, and I expect that you have been made familiar with the ones specified in this paper. The author of Billy Budd and the producer of Twelve Angry Men both display prejudices and, through incredible dialect and persuasion, destroys them, allowing the story to continue toward its amazing end.

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