Twelve Angry Men

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12 Angry Men

The American jury system, wherein citizens are judged by their peers, is one of the most democratic in the world. Nonetheless our system is far from perfect. There are many dangers in a system in which humans are asked to make decisions that could mean life or death for another person. Bias ranks amongst these dangers for it can affect the way jurors interpret testimonies and facts. Indifference is another factor; it too, can heavily affect a juror’s thinking. Personal feelings and experiences can stand in between a juror and the attainment of truth. The American jury system is intrinsically flawed in that it relies on intrinsically flawed humans to make life or death decisions

Bias and prejudice affect most decision making on some level. For instance, Juror 10 reveals his prejudice in his monologue on pages 63-65. The following quote makes it clear that Juror 10’s prejudice affects his decision, “They [foreigners] think different. They act different… they don’t need any big excuse to kill someone… They’re violent.” Juror 10’s bias led him to believe that the boy on trial was, by nature, violent. This would, without doubt, influence him to deliver a vote of guilty despite any evidence that could potentially exonerate the boy. There are several more instances of bias in the play such as Juror 4’s preconceived notions about people with slum backgrounds. “Slums are breeding grounds for criminals… Children from slum backgrounds are potential menaces to society.” This preconception influences Juror 4’s decision-making process. These examples illustrate major flaws that humans may bring to the jury system.

A juror’s verdict can also be shaped by apathy. If a juror does not care about the outcome of a case, there is little chance that he or she will treat his or her verdict with the attention and forethought it deserves. For example, if one examines Juror 7’s quote, the affects of indifference on a juror’s deliberations are clearly shown. “All this...
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