Reginald Rose’s ’12 Angry Men’ brings 12 jurors together in a room to decide whether a young foreign boy is guilty of killing his father. The play is interwoven with dynamic characterisation, striking symbolism and intense moments of drama.
Although Rose positions Juror 8 as the hero, the strongest character is in fact Juror 4, who is an independent thinker, rational and calm even as tension begins to build. Although Juror 4 initially votes guilty, he is able to admit his fault and change his vote.The ability to remain independent proved to be the most important character trait of Juror 4. Throughout the play, Rose’s character is able to think freely and never lets his personal bias or peer-pressure affect his decision making. When Juror 4 finally changes his vote to not guilty; that was in itself enough to put the other’s minds at ease about their own indecisiveness. He was one of the few characters in the play that didn’t take sides, make alliances or look for approval from the beginning. It is obvious to the audience that he was there to find the truth.
When an argument erupts between jurors 3 and 8 regarding who is telling the truth, Juror 4 is already calming the situation; “Gentlemen, let me remind you this case is based on reasonable and a logical progression of facts, please, let’s keep it. ” This represents that he does not wish to delver and time waste in arguments that are not relevant, but rather to cool and calm the situation, gaining positive input from his fellow Jurors. However, thinking on his own and without prejudice was not Juror 4’s only asset. Juror 4 was also a rational and reasonable businessman, which enabled him to look at the case with an open mind.Unlike Juror 3, the president of his own business refuses to alter his vote or opinion in any way. Still haunted by his own son’s disappearance, Juror 3 verbally assaults the group with a forceful tone and a taciturn attitude; ..
He’s got to burn! ” Juror 3 refused facts unless it was in favor of his vote. Because of this, it is understood that he had a prejudice against the boy in discussion. Juror 4 was able to communicate his ideas and thought like a professional and did so in an organised fashion.He analysed each piece of evidence with care and used logic and his skills of deduction to guide his vote. Rose intended for the audience to realise that the not guilty vote was the right choice and used Juror 4 as a catalyst for the final vote change. Juror 4 is able to remain calm and composed throughout the most stressful of situations. While Juror 10 exhibits racial outbursts; “They get drunk”, “That’s the way they are! ”, “VIOLENT! ”, “These people are dangerous.
They’re wild. Listen to me. Listen. ” Juror 4 sat through this entire scene without saying a word.It is only until Juror 10’s monologue is finished that Juror 4 speaks, calmly asking Juror 10 to “Shut [his] filthy mouth. ” Juror 4 never discredits or implies anything towards the defendant and is always careful of what he says. After Juror 10’s tirade, Juror 4 tries to soften the impact created by 10; “Slums are potential breeding grounds for criminals.
” He never attacks or hypes the situation at hand. He draws around ‘potential’ possibilities. Juror 4 initially had his doubts at the start of the case but was the only character that overcame his predisposition based on the analysis of facts and evidence.Rose’s character and only this character had the intelligence, confidence and persistence to keep his head in the tense moment Juror 10 created. Juror 8 is traditionally painted as the savior of the boy although he is not without flaws. Throughout the play, it appears Juror 8 constantly defends the boy by talking down anything that stands between him and a not guilty verdict, it’s as if his intentions are not to set the boy free, but to make sure his conscience is clear before he sends the defendant off to death row; “We’re talking about somebody’s life here”.We can’t decide in five minutes”, “Supposin’ we’re wrong.
”Juror 8 could not live with the thought of sending a teenage boy to his death. Juror 8 analyses the evidence as does juror 4 but its Juror 4’s actions of rubbing the sides of his nose that lead to Juror 9’s ‘reasonable doubt’ to question the elderly woman’s account of how the boy murdered his father. As the play progresses, cracks appear in Juror 8’s resolve of his convictionsWhile all the characters from 12 Angry Men were unique and carefully constructed, Juror 4 stands out from the rest for several reasons. Being collected polished and rational were all advantages to Juror 4 in making his vote the correct one. He who listens, as opposed to talking all the time, truly has an advantage over others. Juror 4 was able to listen, analyse and repot his findings back honestly and without discrimination. this essay only features my own material and any infomation is gathered from both the book and the film