Twelve Angry Men Justice or Innocence

Topics: Jury, Law, Common law Pages: 3 (1004 words) Published: March 13, 2013
'Reginald Rose is more concerned with whether the legal system delivers justice than guilt or innocence.' Discuss.

Set in the summer of 1957, Reginald Rose's dramatic play, Twelve Angry Men, centres around twelve men summoned with the task of deciding a young man's fate. Taking place in a New York courtroom, it follows the deliberations of the jurors as they attempt to make a unanimous verdict with regards to whether or not a sixteen year old is in fact guilty of murdering his father. Throughout the play, Rose demonstrates that there is far more concern with the pursuit of justice than any notion of guilt or innocence. The dramatist expresses this view by emphasising that prejudice obstructs the course of justice, and the need to question what constitutes as a 'fact' when examining the evidence presented. The justice system is also shown to be of greater importance through the broad representation of jurors and the manner in which the play concludes.

For the duration of the text, each juror is only identified by a number with no evidence to suggest that they even know each other’s names. The jury however, is a cross-section of American society as it comprises of educated, old, working-class, business and even immigrant men. This is intended by the playwright as the value of each juror is as a social representation, not as individuals. This enables Rose to explore the framework of the legal system, and in particular, the notion of trial by one's peers. Through the 11th Juror, it is exemplified that a juror's civic responsibility 'is a remarkable thing about democracy', as it enables ordinary citizens, of equal standing, to implement justice. The 8th Juror also represents possible strengths of the jury system as an element of the legal system. This is demonstrated by his confidence and the fact that he does not quail at the idea of 'standing alone' against a potentially unanimous 'guilty' verdict, as he eventually encourages other jurors that a young man's...
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