12 angry men is set in New York in 1957 and the entire action of the play takes place on one hot afternoon and evening in the jury room of a court of law. The two single scene acts cover exactly the period of time of the jurors' discussion. The action is continuous with no change of location, which contributes to the play's overwhelming sense of emotional tension and claustrophobia.
The 12 angry men of the title are the 12 men of the jury. They are identified in the script only by jury numbers(and foreman), and there is no evidence that they know each other's names. This is indicative of the play's focus on the case and its broader ethical implications, rather than personal details of individual character's lives. When details do emerge, they are only ever discussed with reference to their influence on a particular juror's vote. The only other character who appears in the play is a guard who serves only a perfunctory and practical purpose in the text. Similarly, the defendant, victim, lawyers and witnesses in the trial are never named.
The play begins at the conclusion of the court's exploration of the case, when the jury must retire to the jury room and decide on a verdict. The opening lines are the judges offstage VoiceOver, reminding the jury of their duty and at the same time furnishing the audience with the basic details of the trial-including the fact that the jury must reach a unanimous verdict.
We are introduced to the bare facts of the case(further details of the case emerge gradually), as the jury agree to preliminary and Informal vote. 11 of the 12 jurors are convinced that the defendant, a young boy from an underprivileged socio-economic background, is guilty of fatally stabbing his father.
In this first vote, 8th jurors stands alone. He maintains that he is...