Does Twelve Angry Men show that prejudice can obscure the truth?
In the play Twelve Angry Men, Reginald Rose shows that prejudices can prevent jurors from seeing the truth. This is evident throughout the play as juror 10 blinded to the facts because prejudice clouds his judgement. However, besides prejudice, Rose also show personal bias, ignorance and a weak characteristic can take away jurors’ abilities to see the truth. For instance, juror 3’s bad relationship with his son in the past and juror7’s ignorant attitude towards the case ultimately affect their perspective about the facts and evidence presented in the case. As a result, these factors not only obscure the truth but also make it hard for the jury to reach a just verdict and threaten the credibility of the jury system.
It’s a scary but a true reality that prejudice has the power to overshadow the facts and evidence, which can prevent jurors from seeing the truth. From the start of the play, juror 4 votes the defendant guilty of murder, not based on facts but entirely based on prejudice and stereotyping the defendant. The fact that the defendant “was born in a slum” (p.g 12) and the generalisation from the outside world: “Children from slum backgrounds are potential menaces to society.” (p.g 12) convince juror 4 that the defendant must be guilty. Because of prejudice, he cannot see the details like the defendant’s birthplace and circumstances may potentially be used to prove that he does not have a strong motive. As pointed out by the 8th Juror, the defendant was raised in a slum and had “been hit so many times” (p.g 11) that a few slaps from his father cannot make the defendant commit patricide. Therefore, the defendant does not have a strong motive. When we compare juror 8 and juror4’s reasoning, we can see that prejudice and stereotyping can veil the truth of the case and hide it from jurors and consequently prevent them from seeing the truth. However, juror 4 is only prejudiced at the start of...
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