Reginald Rose’s ’12 Angry Men’ brings 12 jurors together in a room to decide whether a young foreign boy is guilty of killing his father. The play is interwoven with dynamic characterisation, striking symbolism and intense moments of drama. Although Rose positions Juror 8 as the hero, the strongest character is in fact Juror 4, who is an independent thinker, rational and calm even as tension begins to build. Although Juror 4 initially votes guilty, he is able to admit his fault and change his vote.
The ability to remain independent proved to be the most important character trait of Juror 4. Throughout the play, Rose’s character is able to think freely and never lets his personal bias or peer-pressure affect his decision making. When Juror 4 finally changes his vote to not guilty; that was in itself enough to put the other’s minds at ease about their own indecisiveness. He was one of the few characters in the play that didn’t take sides, make alliances or look for approval from the beginning. It is obvious to the audience that he was there to find the truth. When an argument erupts between jurors 3 and 8 regarding who is telling the truth, Juror 4 is already calming the situation; “Gentlemen, let me remind you this case is based on reasonable and a logical progression of facts, please, let’s keep it.” This represents that he does not wish to delver and time waste in arguments that are not relevant, but rather to cool and calm the situation, gaining positive input from his fellow Jurors. However, thinking on his own and without prejudice was not Juror 4’s only asset.
Juror 4 was also a rational and reasonable businessman, which enabled him to look at the case with an open mind. Unlike Juror 3, the president of his own business refuses to alter his vote or opinion in any way. Still haunted by his own son’s disappearance, Juror 3 verbally assaults the group with a forceful tone and a taciturn attitude; “WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU GUYS?...He's got to burn!”...
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