12 Angry Men

Twelve Angry Men as an Allegory 12th Grade

Twelve Angry Men is an allegorical play written by Reginald Rose in 1955. It depicts the way in which economic, social and cultural factors can have a significant impact on the process of justice. Rose encapsulates 1950s America through each of the 12 jurors, giving them back-stories relating to economic, social and cultural factors.

Post-war America flourished with wealth, production, and use of income and wealth on commodities. While America was emerging as a superpower in the world, Europeans were penny-pinching and living in a time of austerity. Thus, with immigrants from Europe came a sense of xenophobia and racism within Americans. An example of the bigoted and racist persona is Juror 10, to which he refers to people in the ‘slums’ as ‘common ignorant slob[s]’. Rose is criticizing the racist attitudes of society in 1950s America through the character of Juror 10, as he is an elderly man with a merciless approach to new things. He does this through the contrast between Juror 9 and 10. Juror 9 is also elderly, with his opinion often being overlooked, however he understands, to some extent, the legal system, the role of a juror and the method behind ‘reasonable doubt’. He has taken the time to try to modernize and relate to...

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