Drama Analysis ‘12 Angry Men'

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"How does the playwright of 12 Angry Men use characterisation to explore ideas?"

Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose is a drama that looks at the prejudices and experiences that people bring into the jury room. The story, set in America, revolves around a court case involving an eighteen-year-old boy who murders his father. The fate of this teenager is left to a jury consisting of 12 men, each of whom the playwright has stereotypically used to represent different aspects of the society. At the start, eleven out of the twelve jurymen believe that the man is without any doubt ‘guilty'. However, after a long and heated discussion, all twelve men come down to a unanimous ‘not guilty' vote. During this time, Rose questions the justice system by expressing themes such as prejudice, ignorance, racism, and past experiences, all of which may hinder the path to the real truth, and finally justice. The three most important jurors that Rose has used to explain these themes are the jurors 8, 10, and 3.

Juror 8 is the voice of reason, and the most crucial to the play. At the start, he is the only member of the jury who votes ‘not guilty' and withstands the pressure of all of the other eleven jury members. "It's not easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it." By doing this, he opens the other jury member's minds to the possibility that the accused may be ‘not guilty', and immediately gains the respect and admiration of the audience. He is calm, cool, and collected, and is probably one of the few jury members who fully understands his role. Rose has used juror number eight to bring in the process of deliberation, from where the feelings and beliefs of the other jury members are voiced. Juror 8 is also the first to question the evidence that is brought forward. The knife that was supposedly unique and one of a kind, was proved otherwise by his possession of the same knife. Along with this, juror 8 approaches the trial logically, and...
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