Twelve Angry Men
‘Twelve Angry Men expose the weaknesses of the Jury system as well as its strengths. Discuss. In Rose’s play ‘Twelve Angry Men’ audience clearly learned how the character in the play shows the strengths and weaknesses of the jury system in America during the 1950’s. The Juror 8 has shown the strength at the beginning of the first vote where he’s the only juror in the room who votes not guilty.
There were Individuals such as juror 3 who has shown the weakness like when he lets his inner conflict to overtake the truth, the 10th juror who has shown prejudice to overrule the facts and juror 7 who believes the whole case is not as important as the ball game where he wants to attend. However the jurors were directed by the judge when he said “It’s now becomes your duty to separate the facts from the fancy” but some of the jurors were not as fair as juror 8.
It is clearly observed in the beginning of the play where the 8th juror has told the other jurors “It’s not easy for him to raise his hand … and send a boy off to death without just talking about it first” this clearly shown the strength of the jury system where at the first jury vote Juror 8th is the only one who voted not guilty. This shows the fairness of the 8th juror where he values the life of the boy who is on trial.
In a segment of the play the 8th has reminded other the responsibility of the jury system when he has said “Nine of us now seem to feel that the defendant is innocent…we may be wrong” this reminding the other juror that they are making a big decision and also says “But we have reasonable doubt…which is the enormous values in our system”. Audience can see how the 8th juror has shown strength where he has been fair from the start of the play.
The 3rd juror has shown the weakness of the jury system was his personal feeling and inner conflict has played a major role in his decision making and blinded him from seeking the facts. The weakness of the 3rd juror is revealed when he was saying “I’m gonna make a man out of you or gonna bust you in half trying well I made man out of him…we had battle…he hit me in the face”. We can see how his personal feeling toward the boy on trial is seen here and weaknesses of juror system are revealed.
The 3rd juror is the last one who changes his vote to not guilty and the 8th juror says “It’s not your boy…he’s someone else. This shown how the 8th juror is reminding the 3rd that the boy on trial is someone else and we can see how personal feeling can overrule the truth and the 3rd juror shows weaknesses of the jury system. Rose has revealed the character of the 10th juror who is prejudice throughout the play this resulted in the weakness of the jury system.
The 10th juror reveals his prejudice when he says “You’re not going to tell us that we’re supposed to believe the kid…listen I lived among them all my life…you can’t believe a word they say…they are born liars” this clearly shows that the 10th juror is being xenophobic by exaggerating that all people who are born in slum are liars this shows the weakness of the jury system in America during 1950’s. The 10th juror is the narrow minded person by being prejudice and stereotyping those from lower socio-economic background which clearly shows the weakness if the jury system.
It was the intention of the 7th juror who revealed weaknesses of the juror system where he’s being careless and irresponsible character. This is shown when juror 7th says “This better be fast…I got tickets to a ball game tonight” whereas result of the ball game ticket he votes guilty with no logic reasons. when the 7th juror had changed his vote to not guilty and has no reason for it the juror 11th says “You sat here voteing guilty with everyone just because baseball tickets burning a hole in your pocket…now you have changed your vote…you’re sick of all talking here”.
The juror 11th has reminded him that he can’t just be changing his vote due to a baseball game. This is why audience can see the weaknesses of the jury system as it is shown through the 7th juror. Throughout the play, ‘Twelve Angry Men’ we saw major aspect of the jury system where the individual character such as juror 8th who show strength of the juror system upon no other factors had affected his state of mind and decision were made based on the facts. Also juror such as 3rd, 10th and 7th are indicated by rose to show that there are such characters that can influence the jury system.
Juror 3rd was blinded by the inner conflict that occurred with his son, the 10th juror was prejudice showed how he was against the people from the slum background and juror 7th who were irresponsible juror where his baseball game was more important than the life of the boy who was on trial. We have learned that there are many factors that influenced the decision of the jurors which will result in a strengths or weaknesses of the jury system to be revealed.