12 Angry Men

what are the positives and negatives of the jury system as portrayed in 12 angry men


Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

At the onset of the play, we learn from the Judge's offstage opening instructions the given circumstances of the play, that a man has been accused of murder and his fate is to be determined by these jurors. Immediately, we are launched into a world where the ultimate objective is to complete the "grave responsibility" of determining a man's innocence and guilt, the heart of the American justice system.

Throughout the play, we see two opposing views of justice. From 8th Juror and others, as they join, we see a perspective of justice that favors the accused and that wants most for him to have a fair shot. To 8th Juror, the boy's poor and troubled upbringing, his shoddy state-appointed defense attorney, and the jury's quick near-decisive decision to convict him are all gross forms of injustice.

Conversely, we see another side of justice proposed by the other members of the jury, who feel that the accused is clearly guilty, and anything other than conviction and execution is short of justice. 6th Juror articulates this most clearly, saying, "Suppose you talk us outta this and the kid really did knife his father?" This type of justice depends on retribution and vengeance. Rose plays off the two-sided nature of justice to create tension and contrast the characters. Each character wants "justice," but what justice becomes unclear and fluid throughout the course of the play.