The Justice of a Jury

A jury typically made up of twelve citizens, is sworn into court to give a verdict on a legal case, based on the evidence that is presented. An executioner is set to carry out the sentence set by a judge if the jury finds the defendant guilty. In what seems to be a normal day in the 1900s, a murder has just taken place in a confined space and everyone surrounding the area is a suspect. Individuals seek justice for the wrong that has been committed.

The scales of justice have been tipped in the favour of those seeking closure.

The characters of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie and Clue directed by Jonathan Lynn change the definition of jury and executioner, the need for justice turns into revenge The relationships that the twelve characters In Murder on the Orient Express have is based on a true connection. The true connection that the characters have in Murder on the Orient Express allows the characters to get away with a seemingly justified murder.

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Hercule Poirot, the narrator, makes a discovery towards the third part of the novel which reveals that the entirety of the train (excluding M. Bouc, M. Poirot, as well as Doctor Constantine) have planned to serve justice for Daisy Armstrong, “We decided then and there—perhaps we were mad—I don’t know—that the sentence of death that Casetti had escaped had got to be carried out” (Christie 263).

The case of Daisy Armstrong was connected with an American kidnapping performed by a desperado, Casetti, who kidnapped the daughter of the exceptionally wealthy Armstrong family although, instead of returning her when the ransom was paid off, Casetti had left her to pass away.

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The twelve representatives of the Armstrong household were determined to right the wrong that had been committed when Daisy had been kidnapped; giving them a true connection. The self-appointed group of twelve play jury and convict Cassetti, who was disguised by the name of Ratchett: “He is the man Casetti, who was responsible for a celebrated kidnapping outrage in America” (120).

The passengers are connected together for their purpose, “All around us are people of all classes, of all nationalities, of all ages” (23), and once they are done with their purpose to seek justice, they are separated, no longer one, going their separate ways. Similarly, in Clue the characters have a relationship based on the individual’s social gain. Six strangers are invited to a dinner party at a secluded mansion in England. On arrival, they are greeted by the butler, Wadsworth, who gives them a pseudonym that they are continued to be addressed by. During dinner, a seventh guest arrives, Mr. Boddy, whom Wadsworth reveals to be the one that has been blackmailing them for some time now. Attempting to confront Mr. Boddy and call the police, the guests are reminded, If you renounce me to the police, you will also be exposed and humiliated I’ll see to that in court . . . The only way to avoid finding yourselves on the front pages is for one of you to kill Wadsworth. ()

The guests, deciding that their reputation and social gain matters more so than committing a crime, all murder a different person, starting with Professor Plum murdering Mr. Boddy. Despite being blackmailed by Mr. Boddy and having the ability to reveal the blackmail to the police, the houseguests fear being exposed in the public eye. They fear to ruin the position that they stand on the social ladder. The dinner guests need to get justice to get revenge because there is a man who has the power to destroy them in the public eye. Justice rapidly transforms into revenge. In Murder on the Orient Express, the idea of a “jury” and “justice” becomes a thematic topic.

Soon after Poirot boards the train, the body of the wealthy Samuel Ratchett is stumbled upon, alone in his compartment with the windows down. When looking into the murder, Dr. Constantine reports the number of stab wounds found on Ratchett, ‘I make it twelve. One or two are so light as to practically scratch. On the other hand, at least three would be capable of causing death’ (Christie 246); there also happen to be twelve members on a jury (and twelve members on the self-appointed jury).

The twelve stab wounds imply that this isn’t a straightforward murder, but instead an attempt at a trial by jury. A trial in which, Ratchett was found guilty, and is given a death sentence. Jurors are unbiased individuals, they have no prejudice. The Armstrong family, which holds a substantial amount of bias, justifies murder because they had gathered twelve people whom all had thought that Ratchett should be killed. They self-appointed jury takes on the idiom of “an eye for an eye”, a life for a life, a murder for a murder. However, their idea of a jury is vastly unlike the western idea, it greatly differentiates from how the courtroom jury is intended to be. Justice is served in a way that it was not guaranteed in the courtroom. Like Poirot, the law was not relied on to make the “jury”. The “jury” devised a detailed plan that did not put the responsibility on just one person for the murder, but them all. Instead of taking Ratchett to court once again to get the justice that the Armstrong family feels they need, they turn to revenge.

All the characters say that Ratchett’s murder was ‘just,’ that the jury they had formed, and the consensus of twelve, was right and fair: ‘If ever a man deserved what he got, Ratchett or Cassetti is the man. I’m rejoiced at his end. Such a man wasn’t fit to live!’ (78) While not being convicted of a crime, the Armstrong family takes revenge against Ratchett, killing him because they saw it fit. From the point of view of the Armstrong family, murdering Ratchett is the only way that they are able to get revenge, to seek justice. The characters were too close to the crime to seek unerring justice and relied on their emotions and instincts to carry out the revenge that they had deemed to be justice. Contrasted to Murder on the Orient Express, the characters of Clue the justice becomes revenge at a higher degree.

While the murder of one’s child runs deep with someone, the deed is done. In Clue, the passenger’s secrets are not out in the open yet, which causes the passengers to seek revenge for the blackmail at a higher level so that their secrets do not come out to the public. Seeking justice for the man that had blackmailed them, they attempt calling the police. However, the police are never called. Upon learning the truth about the blackmail that the dinner guests had received, they had also obtained weapons. In the starting moments of the film, the six houseguests do not kill the man that is their blackmailer.

The six dinner guests soon discover that it had been the house helpers that had been the ones selling their secrets, “my network of spies and informers” (). Once again the house guests become full of emotion, particularly anger, and seek their revenge on the house help for sharing their deepest, darkest secrets. Each dinner guest takes it upon themselves to seek their revenge. Unlike Murder on the Orient Express, the six individuals do not come together, and there is no detailed planning. Instead, each murder is spontaneously committed by a different person: Colonel Mustard, when we saw the motorist at the front door . . . you killed the motorist with a blow on the head . . . After we all split up again, I went upstairs with you, yes, you, Mrs. White . . . You hurried downstairs and turned off the electricity, got the rope from the open cupboard, and throttled Yvette . . . Miss Scarlet seized the opportunity and, she hit the cop, on the head with the lead pipe . . .

I shot her. () While explaining who had killed who, Wadsworth takes the gun from his pocket before saying he had shot the singing telegram. The murders are angry, they are full of emotions, and unlike Murder on the Orient Express, for the dinner guests of Clue, the reason for their revenge is much deeper. All their deepest darkest secrets and fears are exposed to being exposed to the public and they do not want to face the humiliation. The dinner guests in Clue receive no closure, it is more realistic and as a result the emotions and suffering run deeper unlike Murder on the Orient Express which is tidy, the passengers do get closure. In turn, this leads to the revenge that the dinner guests seek much greater than the revenge that the passengers seek.

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The Justice of a Jury. (2022, Apr 09). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/the-justice-of-a-jury-essay

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