Twelve Angry Men Themes Characters Background
Reginald Rose Reginald Rose: born December 10, 1920 – died April 19, 2002 He was an American film and television writer most widely known for his work in the early years of television drama. Rose is known for writing about controversial social and political issues. His realistic approach helped create the genre of television drama of the 1950’s.
Twelve Angry Men • Was originally written for television by Reginald Rose. • Reginald originally got the idea to write the show after he served on the jury of a murder case. Some of the events that take place in the story actually happened. • The play, written by Sherman Sergel, is an adaptation of the television production.
Historical Context • 1950’s • A socially conservative time. • People were very materialistic. The American Dream had turned into the dream of owning things. • Juvenile delinquency was said to be at an all-time high • African Americans were subject to racial discrimination. • Comics were published and growing in popularity. • Television sales were booming.
Discrimination • Some of the jurors think the boy is guilty because of his background and ethnicity. • Slum: A thickly populated area marked by poverty and dirty or deteriorating houses. • (No.8) “I don’ t think it was a very strong move. This boy has been hit so many times that violence is practically a normal state of affairs with him. I just can’t see two slaps in the face would have provoked him into committing murder.”
The administration of the law Fairness Righteousness Justice
Integrity • Adherance to a code of values. • Juror # Eight
Important terms to know: • Burden of proof: the necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges. • Due process of law: the state must allow all of the legal rights that are owed to a person under the law. • Presumption of innocence: the defendant is legally assumed to be innocent until he or she is proven guilty. • Circumstantial evidence: evidence used which may or may not be true. • Reasonable doubt: doubt of a person’s guilt based on evidence or reason.
Vocabulary • Abstain: Refrain from an action • Antagonize: To provoke hostility • Coroner: Doctor who investigates causes of death. • Deliberate: Carefully think through. • Drab: Dull • Petty Jury: A jury of twelve people • Rapport: Relationship • Subservient: Passive and obedient
Vocabulary • Dialogue: Conversation between two or more parties. • Naïve: Someone who is inexperienced in the ways of the world. • Unanimous: The agreement of all. • Hung Jury: A jury that cannot agree. • Sadist: Someone who enjoys seeing other people suffer. • Reasonable doubt: Doubt based on evidence or reason. • Premeditated: Planned before an act is performed. • Homicide: Murder. • Bigot: Someone who is racist and discriminates against people.
Act 1 • Takes place in a jury room where most of the jurors think the defendant is guilty of murder. • Jurors 7 and 10 ridicule the defendants story. • Juror 8 votes “not guilty” • The jurors discuss the facts of the case • There is a call for a secret vote. • The result of the vote is 10 guilty and 2 not guilty
Act 2 • We find out that juror 9 cast the second not guilty vote. • The jurors discuss the case further taking a close look at the facts of the case. • Juror 3 becomes enraged and swears to kill juror 8
Act 3 • The jurors take another vote the results of the vote are 6 to 6. • The jurors discuss the case more • The jurors take another vote the results are 11 to 1. • Juror 3 stands alone in his conviction that the defendant is guilty. • Eventually, juror 3 gives in to the pressure and votes not guilty. • The jury gives their recommendation to the court and the defendant is set free.
Characters Foreman Juror two Juror three Juror four • A small, petty man who holds authority over jury. He is formal and not overly bright. • A meek hesitant man who finds it difficult to maintain any opinions of his own. • A very strong, forceful, opinionated man with whom can be detected a streak of sadism. • A man of wealth and position. He presents himself as a little bit above the rest of the jurors.
Characters Juror five Juror six Juror seven Juror eight • A naïve, frightened young man who takes the case very seriously. • An honest man who makes decisions slowly and carefully. • A loud, flashy salesman who has more important things to do than to sit on a jury. • A quiet, thoughtful, gentleman who sees all sides of the story and constantly seeks the truth.
Characters Juror nine Juror ten Juror eleven Juror twelve • A mild, gentle, old man who has been defeated by life, and now simply waits to die. • An angry, bitter, antagonistic man. He is a bigot and places no value on human life. • A refugee from Europe. He speaks with an accent and seeks justice. • A slick, bright advertising man who thinks of human beings in terms of percentages, graphs, and polls.
Witness #1 • The old man who lived on the second floor under the room where the murder took place. • The old man heard loud noises and then heard “I’m going to kill you” in the upstairs apartment . A second later, he heard a body falling. • He saw the kid running down the stairs and out of the house.
Witness #2 • “Here’s a woman who’s lying in bed. She can’t sleep. It’s hot.And right across the street, she sees the kid stick his knife into his father’s chest. Look, she has known the kid all his life. And she swore she saw him do it. “