The Power of Persuasion

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12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose

Twelve Angry Men is a book written by Reginald Rose and takes place late one hot summer afternoon in the jury-room of a New York Court of law. The story revolves around a Jury that is trying to judge a murder trial. The 12 jurors must decide whether the defendant is guilty or not. The power of persuasion does not only influence characters in the book, but also persuades us to rethink, ‘Should something be changed in the judicial system?’

Stage direction
The stage directions are perfectly arranged by Rose. For instance, in Act 2, Juror 3 and Juror 8 re-enacts the murdering, the stage directions that Juror 3 ‘suddenly stabs downward, hard’ after he ‘flicks open the knife’. This emphasizes the threatening action done by Juror 3 and his aggressive emotion which contrasts between Juror 8’s calm and rational response. Characters

The 8th Juror is a key character throughout the play. He is the only dissenter who votes ‘not guilty’ in the very beginning and says ‘it’s not easy to raise hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first.’ As a logical, gentle and thoughtful character, the 8th Juror slowly works out the way to make the jury rethink the case and the possibility of the boy not killing his father. Juror 8 allows us to look at facts, the bandwagon happening throughout the play and perhaps, he is representing the voice of Rose as well. Juror 3 well presents his points of argument and looks at the facts in an apparently logical way in the beginning of the play. His words, ’there are facts for you’, ‘you can’t refute facts’ and his listing of reasons why he thinks the boy is guilty are persuasive to other jurors and the audience as well. Nevertheless, as the play goes on, the 3rd juror starts to be blindfolded by his aggressive feelings about his own son, making his opinion extremely bias and he even uses threatening language, ‘ let go of me, god damn it! I’ll kill him!’ ‘I’m telling you now!’ to force others...
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