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Twelve Angry Men Essay

1263 words - 6 pages

Democracy and the right to serve as a juror are a great privilege and responsibility which is not to be taken lightly, as seen in Twelve Angry Men. How does Rose use the play to reflect these themes?

In Reginald Rose Twelve Angry Men, Rose uses the play to reflect the duty and responsibility of a juror. Rose uses the characters to reflect different themes of the play. As a democratic country, jurors have a great privilege and responsibility and it shouldn’t be taken lightly as some juror’s demonstrated. Rose represents different personalities and beliefs with each juror. A young man’s life is at stake, most of the juror’s assume he is guilty on the first vote. But luck for the boy is that ...view middle of the document...

But why do they have their minds made up? Why are they so convinced the young boy is guilty? This is where Rose uses the central issue of the play ‘a murder trial’ to expose the hidden biases of his characters, who come to represent society as a whole. As a juror you have to put aside your personal beliefs and conflicts and fulfil the duty of a juror properly. Rose uses two main characters to represent some people who are voting on personal beliefs and not correctly fulfilling their responsibilities. They are juror 10 and 3. Juror 10 is a very unreasonable person and a bigot. He vote’s not guilty because the young boy’s background is not ‘Angelo American’. He is racist and does not like people that are not like him and angrily says "You know how those people are!". This causes the other juror’s to see what type of person juror 10 is. Juror 9 sides with juror 8 after he recognising the type of person juror 10 is. Juror 3 had a different and more personal bias that affects his decision. He is angry with his son, who is also a young boy like the defendant, over a family matter that broke his heart, who is going to get his revenge by voting guilty. Regardless of what the facts are he does not want to change his mind. Rose uses juror 3 as the antagonist of the play and a key example of someone who is bringing personal conflicts to the court case and not giving the defendant a fair trial. Juror 3 states ‘that goddamn rotten kid. I know him. What they are like. What they do to you. How they kill you every day..”. Juror 8 stands by justice and try’s his hardest to put sense into juror 3. Juror 3 finally faces his conflict regarding his son and choses to do the right thing and vote ‘not guilty’.

Other juror’s in the play that were taking the court case lightly were juror 12 and 7. Rose represents these people as men that just want the decision made so they can go home early. The have lack of effort and show some of the flaws of the jury system. Juror 12 is an advertising agent, is bored and keeps switching sides just because he wants to go home early. The guilt or innocence of the young defendant doesn't matter to him. Juror 8 forces him to face the situation which leads him to change his vote. Rose uses juror 7 to show the attitude of a person not wanting to serve in the jury. Juror 7 is more interested in his...

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