12 Angry Men: the Jury System

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Twelve angry men shows’ that the jury system shows that personal experiences are the strongest feeling to influence human decision making. Discuss

Roses play Twelve Angry Men is about a dissenting juror in a murder trial who slowly manages to convince the other jurors that the case they are examining is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court. The defence and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filling into the jury room to decide if a young sixteen year old ethnic boy is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. It begins as an ‘open and shut’ case of murder, but soon becomes a mini drama of each of the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other, which every jury room tries to avoid. Prejudices’ and misconceptions are formed through personal experiences which influence human decision making, which is shown throughout the play from all jurors but is distinctively (not the right word) shown through Juror 3.

The third juror is the most ardently outspoken about the 'guilt' of the teenager. As the play goes along it is revealed he has a personal connection with what has happened, he feels anger towards his own son, an anger which he has transferred onto the accused. A key moment for the third juror is when he finally changes his vote to ‘not guilty’ which is when he is reminded by the 8th juror “It’s not your boy. He’s somebody else’”, followed by juror stating “let him live”. Right up to this point, the third juror is committed to his ‘guilty’ vote. By juror 3 allowing his emotional baggage to enter the jury room with him it is clear that from the beginning of the play, his personal experience with his son were physiologically too powerful for him to be able to make the right verdict for the defendant.

Just like Juror 3, Juror 4 a man of wealth and position is a practiced speaker who presents himself well at all times is a very racist man. He is only concerned with the ‘facts’ in this case, as he states...
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