Twelve Angry Men

“Despite questioning the ultimate fairness and reliability of the jury system, Twelve Angry Men is, at heart, a tribute to this system. Discuss. Throughout Reginald Rose’s ‘Twelve Angry Men’ the potential dangers of a justice system that depends upon twelve anonymous citizens determining the life of an equally anonymous accused are poignantly illustrated. While ‘Twelve Angry Men’ is in a sense, a tribute to the jury system, Rose predominantly questions the ultimate fairness and reliability of the system.
The inharmoniousness of irrational prejudice is evidently placed within Roses’ play, accompanying this Rose brings to light the frailness of justice. The inharmoniousness of irrational prejudice is evidently placed within oses’ play. Rose ultimately accompanies this by bringing to light the frailness of justice and the questioning towards the notion of reasonable doubt’s role in the justice system. Rose explores the incompatibility of irrational prejudice and how it impacts upon the fairness and reliability of the jury system.
The idea that prejudice is evident and also plays a part in a jury system is clearly expressed by Rose through Juror 10’s xenophobia. Juror 10 is seen to be the most abhorrent member of the group, he is openly bitter and prejudiced, “the kids who crawl outa those places are real trash”. The prejudicial views of Juror 10 openly question the objectivity of the justice system by allowing his personal views to overshadow his judgement on the court matter.

Rose uses Juror 10 to express his views on how the justice system is filled with flaws, as opinions are placed under facts. Juror 10’s prejudiced views on the accused, clouds his judgement on the fate of the 16 year old accused murder, “Bright? He’s a common ignorant slob. He don’t even speak good English… you know how these people lie! It’s born in them! ” The fact that Juror 10 bring his personal opinions into matters to do with justice, shows that Rose questions the fairness of the jury system, especially if prejudice views influence the final verdict.
In addition, Rose underscores the fragility of justice that comes with complacency and those who are unfit for civic duty. Rose brings to light the indication of a jury system occupied with those who do not care about either the case or the wellbeing of the alleged. Juror 7’s inability to put the case before his personal interests, show the concept of a fair and reliable judgment to be a far cry from the truth,” You have sat here and voted “guilty” with everyone else because there are some baseball tickets burning a hole in your pocket?”
Juror 10 also shows signs of incompatibility to his role in life or death matters, by simply changing his vote to comply with the others to leave as soon as possible, “I got three garages of mine going to pot while you’re talking! So let’s get down and get out of here! ” The level of concern on the matter at hand, displayed by some of the jury members shows that the jury system conveyed by Rose is unfair and unreliable. Furthermore Rose brings light to the notions of reasonable doubt and how it is a safeguard in the jury system.
This notion is clearly the framework for the thought process of Juror 8. Throughout the whole play Juror 8 has been seen as the protagonist, only because he is chief arguer, and he has the mentality of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, “But we have a reasonable doubt, and that’s something that’s very valuable in our system. No jury can declare a man guilty unless it’s sure. ” Juror 8’s mentality gives some evidence that Rose had given some tribute to the jury system.


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