‘Twelve Angry Men Shows That One Man Can Make a Difference.’ Do You Agree?
‘Twelve Angry Men shows that one man can make a difference.’ Do you agree?
Rose’s dramatic teleplay ‘Twelve Angry Men’ was written in a time of social upheaval in which the United States witnessed the calamitous misuses of the justice system during the McCarthy era. The play centres around twelve men who are given the task of deciding the fate of a sixteen year old boy, charged with his father’s murder. Set in the 1950s, in a New York Courtroom, Rose reveals that compassion and understanding are essential in order to serve justice. The playwright expresses this view through the protagonist Juror 8 as he reveals how we should value a system of democracy. Yet, through the 8th jurors’ sense of compassion and integrity, he is able to
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Racist attitudes towards other ethnic groups also hinder the course of justice. This is shown when Juror 11 questions Juror 7s understanding of the legal term “reasonable doubt” as Juror 7 claims that migrants “come over to this country..running..telling us how to run the show”. Rose thereby highlights the fallible sense of humanity and how racism may creep into the justice system. Similarly, the 3rd Juror also suffers from prejudice. Yet, unlike the other Jurors, his sense of prejudice has derived from a personal experience with his own son where he has “not seen him in two years”. He’s sees the defendant’s alleged treatment of his father with that of his son’s rejection of him. His psychological pain is further exposed when the “others are silent” as he says “I know him. What they’re like”. This enables the audience to feel some sort of compassion towards the 3rd Juror as they realise he is unable to view the case in an objective way. It is only when the 8th Juror reminds him the “He’s not your boy, he’s somebody else” that he is able to see that it is his own personal vendetta towards his son that has blinded him. Indeed, Juror 3’s personality initially stifles the potential for a fair trial; however his stoicism also allows proceedings to be drawn out such that the evidence is examined closely. Through the reflection of the attitudes of the era, Rose reveals that intolerance is universal and may allow for injustice to prevail if left unchallenged.