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Twelve Angry Men

By Reginald Rose (3)

Reginald Rose’s masterpiece, Twelve Angry Men, is a thought-provoking drama that queries how we form our opinions, tipping our perceived “sense of justice” on its head. There have been six exhausting days of testimony for twelve jurors, who are asked to decide whether a nineteen-year-old boy is guilty of murdering his father. Their verdict, if guilty, will result in the death penalty for the boy, but as the play opens, several of the characters already have a strong bias toward the boy’s guilt, determined largely by his low social status and surly exterior. Their initial vote leads to only one abstaining from a guilty verdict: Juror no. 8, who refuses to succumb to the distinct peer pressure. As Juror no. 8 begins to carefully dissect the evidence, sifting through prejudice and ill-defined testimony, he slowly draws more and more jurors to his side. A riveting case that examines the snap decisions one makes, Rose demonstrates how easy it is to let pre-determined prejudices take control and warp perception. Twelve Angry Men is a profound work, and the heroic intelligence of Juror no. 8, alongside the malicious antics of Jurors no. 3, 7, and 10, will captivate readers and viewers, forcing them to also deem whether their judgment of others is fair.

Response Journal: Twelve Angry Men (eBook) cover

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