Lesson Five Text A Twelve Angry Men (Part One) Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Department of Languages and Literature Pu Dong-mei
Contents 1. Teaching objectives 2. Background Knowledge 3. Structure of the text 4. Language points 5. Comprehension questions 6. Writing techniques
Teaching objectives • Introduction to American legal/judicial system • Introduction to drama: types and elements • Features of dramatic language: • 1) the loose use of pronouns; • 2) the context; • 3) the tone of certain remarks
Background Knowledge - About the author Reginald Rose (1920- ) is a native New Yorker, best known as a writer for television. The Twelve Angry Men was written in 1954 based on his experience as a juror. The play was turned into a movie in 1957 with Henry Fonda starring as No. 8. The present text is based on that movie, with much abridgement. What distinguished Rose’s teleplays was their direct preoccupation (专注) with social and political issues.
Introduction-about the play Twelve Angry Men, by the American playwright Reginald Rose, was originally written for television, and it was broadcast live on CBS's show Studio One in 1954. The fifty-minute television script can be found in Rose's Six Television Plays, published in 1956 (out of print in 2005). Rose expanded the play for the stage, and a new version was published in 1955 (Dramatic Publishing Company; in print). Two years later, in 1957, Rose wrote the screenplay for a film version, which he coproduced with the actor Henry Fonda. The play has subsequently been updated and revived; for example, in a production at the American Airlines Theater in New York City in 2004.
Introduction-about the play cont’d • The play was inspired by Rose‘s own experience of jury duty on a manslaughter (过失杀人)case in New York City. • At first, he had been reluctant to serve on a jury, but, he wrote, "the moment I walked into the courtroom … and found myself facing a strange man whose fate was suddenly more or less in my hands, my entire attitude changed." • Rose was greatly impressed by the gravity of the situation, the somber activity of the court, and the "absolute finality" of the decision that he and his fellow jurors would have to make.
Introduction-about the play cont’d • He also thought that since no one other than the jurors had any idea of what went on in a jury room, "a play taking place entirely within a jury room might be an exciting and possibly moving experience for an audience" ("Author's Commentary" on Twelve Angry Men in Six Television Plays). • The result is a taut, engrossing drama in which eleven jurors believe the defendant in a capital murder trial is guilty, while one juror stands up courageously for what he believes is justice and tries to persuade the others to his way of thinking.
Plot A Puerto Rican youth is on trial for murder, accused of stabbing his father to death. The twelve jurors retire to the jury room, having been admonished that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Eleven of the jurors vote for conviction, each for reasons of his own. The sole holdout is Juror #8, played by Henry Fonda. As Fonda persuades the weary (疲倦的) jurors to re-examine the evidence, we learn the back-story of each man.
Plot cont’d Juror #3, a bullying self-made man, has estranged himself from his own son. Juror #7 has an ingrained mistrust of foreigners; so, to a lesser extent, does Juror #6. Jurors #10and #11, so certain of the infallibility (绝对可靠)of the Law, assume that if the boy was arrested, he must be guilty. Juror #4 is an advocate of dispassionate deductive reasoning. Juror #5, like the defendant a product of "the streets," hopes that his guilty vote will distance himself from his past. Juror #12, an advertising man, doesn't understand anything that he can't package and market.
Plot cont’d And Jurors #1, #2 and #9, anxious not to make waves, "go with the flow." The excruciatingly (unbearably)hot day drags into an even hotter night; still, Fonda chips away at the guilty verdict, insisting that his fellow jurors bear in mind those words "reasonable doubt." A pet project of Henry Fonda's, Twelve Angry Men was his only foray into film production; the actor's partner in this venture was Reginald Rose, who wrote the 1954 television play on which the film was based.
Characters-#1 Foreman • The foreman is described in the author's notes to the play as "a small, petty man who is impressed with the authority he has." • The foreman tries to run the meeting in an orderly fashion, but in the film he is too sensitive and sulks when his attempt to stick to the way they had agreed to proceed is questioned. • His contribution to the deliberations comes when they are discussing how long the killer would have taken to get downstairs. • The foreman points out that since the killer wiped his fingerprints off the knife, he would also have done so off the doorknob, which would have taken some time. • He votes guilty several times, but in act 3 he switches his vote, along with two others, to make the total nine to three for acquittal.
Characters-Juror Two • Juror Two is a quiet, meek figure who finds it difficult to maintain an independent opinion. • In the 1957 film, he is a bank clerk. • Juror Two does, however, make one useful contribution to the jury deliberations. He mentions that it seems awkward that the defendant, who was six inches shorter than his father, would stab him with a downward motion, as the fatal wound indicates. • Although this is not a conclusive point, it does jog (唤醒) Juror Five’s memory of how a switchblade (弹簧小折刀) is used and so helps to induce doubt in the minds of a number of jurors. • Juror Two changes his vote to not guilty at the beginning of act 3, along with Jurors Eleven and Six.
Characters-Juror Three • Juror Three is a forceful, intolerant (偏执的) man who is also a bully. In the 1957 film, he runs a messenger service called Beck and Call. • He believes that there is no point in discussing the case, since the defendant‘s guilt is plain, and he is quick to insult and browbeat (欺侮) anyone who suggests otherwise. • At one point, Juror Three describes how he fell out (争吵) with his son. He raised his son to be tough, but when the boy was 15, he hit his father in the face, and Juror Three has not seen his son for 3 years. He condemns his son as ungrateful (忘恩负义的). • As the play develops, it becomes clear that Juror Three is the principal antagonist (反面主角) of Juror Eight. This is brought out visually when Juror Three demonstrates on Juror Eight how he would use a knife to stab a taller man. His animosity (敌意) to Juror Eight comes out in the aggressive way he makes the demonstration, which shocks some of the jurors.
Characters-Juror Three cont’d • Also, when Juror Eight calls him a sadist (虐待狂), Juror Three is incensed (激怒) and threatens to kill him. • Juror Three is the last to hold out for a guilty verdict. For a few moments after it becomes apparent that he stands alone, he sticks to his guns, saying there will be a hung jury, but he finally gives in to the pressure and votes not guilty. • In the film, he pulls out his wallet to produce some facts of the case—perhaps notes he has made—and a photograph of himself with his son falls out. He stares at it for a few moments and then tears it up and begins to sob. • He recognizes that his desire to convict and punish the defendant is bound up with his feelings of anger and betrayal in regard to his own son.
Characters - Juror Four • Juror Four is described in the author's notes as seeming to be "a man of wealth and position, and a practiced speaker who presents himself well at all times." • In the 1957 film, he is a stockbroker (股票经纪人), a well-dressed man in an expensive suit who, unlike the others, does not remove his jacket and shows no signs of distress in the heat. • He is an arch rationalist who insists that the jury should avoid emotional arguments in deciding the case. • He has a good grasp of the facts and an excellent memory, and he presents the case for guilt as well as it can be done. He is extremely skeptical of the defendant's story that he was at the movies on the night of the murder.
Characters - Juror Four • However, his pride in his memory is shaken when, under questioning from Juror Eight, he discovers that he cannot accurately recall the title of one of the movies he saw only a few days ago, nor can he remember the names of the actors. • However, he still believes strongly in the defendant's guilt and is the last juror but one to change his vote. • This occurs when it is demonstrated that the piece of evidence on which he places greatest value—the woman's eyewitness testimony that she saw the murder take place—is undermined. He then admits that he has a reasonable doubt.
Characters - Juror Five • Juror Five is described in the author's notes as "a naive, very frightened young man who takes his obligations in this case very seriously but who finds it difficult to speak up when his elders have the floor." • When, at the beginning, jurors are asked to speak in turn, Juror Five declines the opportunity. Later, he protests when Jurors Four and Ten speak disparagingly (轻视) of kids from slum backgrounds, saying that he has lived in a slum all his life. • Juror Five's main contribution is in pointing out that an experienced knife fighter would use a switchblade underhand, stabbing upward rather than down. He knows this because he has witnessed such fights. • Juror Five is the second juror to switch his vote to not guilty. • He acquires a reasonable doubt when it is shown that, because of the noise from the train, the old man could not have heard the boy yell that he would kill his father.
Characters - Juror Six • Juror Six is a housepainter, a man who is used to working with his hands rather than analyzing with his brain. He is more of a listener than a talker. • In the film version, he suggests early in the debate that the defendant had a motive to kill his father, because there was testimony in the trial about an argument between father and son earlier in the evening. • But Juror Eight dismisses this as a possible motive. • Juror Six stands up for (支持) Juror Nine when Juror Three speaks rudely to him, threatening to strike Juror Three if he says anything like that again. • Juror Six also speaks up for himself when he changes his vote, succinctly explaining why he did so. • In the film version, he talks to Juror Eight in the washroom, asking him how he would feel if he succeeded in getting the defendant acquitted but later found out that he was guilty.
Characters - Juror Seven • Juror Seven is a salesman. He assumes that the defendant is guilty and has no interest in discussing it. • His only concern is that the deliberations should be over quickly, so that he does not miss the baseball game he has tickets for. • At no time does he make any serious contribution to the debate, other than to point out that the defendant has a record of arrests. In the film, he is a baseball fan and uses baseball allusions in almost everything he says. • At one point, he gets into an argument with Juror Eleven about why Juror Eleven changed his vote, and he makes some prejudiced remarks about immigrants. • He favors declaring a hung jury, because that will mean he will get out of the jury room quickly. Eventually, he changes his vote to not guilty, for the same reason. • In the film version, Juror Eleven harshly rebukes him for caring only about ending the proceedings as quickly as possible, rather than whether the man is guilty or not.
Characters - Juror Eight • Juror Eight is a quiet, thoughtful man whose main concern is that justice should be done. In the film, he is an architect. Although he is usually gentle in his manner, he is also prepared to be assertive in the search for truth. • He is the only juror who, in the initialballot, votes not guilty. He does not argue that the man is innocent but says that he cannot condemn a man to death without discussing the case first. • As he probes the evidence, he manages to cast reasonable doubt on many aspects of the testimony given at the trial. He is resolute in suggesting that although, on its face, the evidence may suggest guilt, it is possible that there are other explanations for what happened that night.
Characters - Juror Eight cont’d • Juror Eight is a natural leader, and one by one he persuades the other jurors to accept his arguments. • A telling moment comes when he produces a knife from his pocket that is exactly the same as the murder weapon; when he says that he bought it cheaply in the neighborhood, he disproves (驳斥) the jury's belief up to that point that the knife is a very unusual one. • Juror Eight remains calm throughout the deliberations. The only times that he becomes heated is when he stops the game of tic-tac-toe that Jurors Ten and Twelve have started and when he calls Juror Three a sadist. • The latter incident serves his purpose, however, because it goads (刺激) Juror Three into saying that he will kill Juror Eight, thus proving Juror Eight's earlier point that when such expression are used, they are not always meant literally.
Characters - Juror Nine • Juror Nine is an old man. In the author's notes, he is described as "long since defeated by life." • In the film version, however, he is given more strength and dignity, and other jurors insist that he be heard. • It is Juror Nine who is the first to switch his vote to not guilty, saying that he wants a fuller discussion of the case, as Juror Eight has requested. • It is Juror Nine who offers an explanation of why the old man might have lied about hearing the boy yell that he was going to kill his father. Juror Nine's explanation is that, because the old man has led an insignificant life and no one has ever taken any notice of him, this is his one chance for recognition. • Juror Nine is also extremely observant, and the film version amplifies his role in the final discussion, when he is the one to point out that the female witness at the trial, in an effort to look younger, omitted to wear the glasses that she habitually wore, as shown by the marks on either side of her nose. This is the key point that results in the discrediting of the woman's testimony.
Characters - Juror Ten • Juror Ten is described in the author's notes as "an angry, bitter man—a man who antagonizes almost at sight. He is also a bigot." • He is automatically prejudiced against anyone who comes from a slum. • He believes strongly that the defendant is guilty, argues the case forcefully, and is one of the last three to hold out for a guilty verdict. But he loses credibility with the other jurors when he makes a long speech near the end of the play that reveals his bigotry in full. • He insists that people from slums are drunks and liars who fight all the time. The other jurors repudiate him, and Juror Four tells him not to say another word; he does not, other than to finally admit that there is a reasonable doubt in the case.
Characters - Juror Eleven • Juror Eleven is an immigrant from Europe, a refugee from persecution. He is possibly Jewish, although this is not stated explicitly. In the film, he is a watchmaker. • Juror Eleven feels fortunate to be living in a country known for its democracy, and he has great respect for the American judicial system. He takes his responsibility as a juror very seriously. • He is one of three jurors who change their minds, to make the vote split six to six. He further expresses reasonable doubt about the old man's ability to recognize the boy in a dimly lit tenement building. • In the author's notes, he is described as "ashamed, humble, almost subservient to the people around him," but in the film his character is strengthened. He rebukes Juror Seven for not taking the trial more seriously, and he is prepared to stand up for what he believes. Also in the film version, he questions whether the son would have returned to his father's house at three o'clock in the morning if he had been the murderer.
Characters - Juror Twelve • Juror Twelve works for an advertising agency. He is clever, but as the author's notes point out, he "thinks of human beings in terms of percentages, graphs and polls, and has no real understanding of people.“ • When Juror Three presses him, near the end of the play, to explain his not-guilty vote, he finds it very hard to do so, since he does not, in fact, have strong opinions one way or the other. • He is reduced to mumbling about the complexity of the evidence.
About the text itself • The play centers on the jury deliberation (商议) in a murder trial. A teenaged boy from the slums of the city stands accused of killing his father. If convicted, the boy will receive a mandatory (强制的) death sentence. The jury of 12 take a show of hands to see who falls on the side of guilty and not guilty. While many are expecting an open-and-shut (一目了然的) case, one lone juror (C.L. Brown) votes not guilty. • Incredulous(质疑的) scoffing follows, but once the man is given the floor to speak, he begins chipping away (去除) at the prosecution’s evidence. As holes are poked in the case, jurors begin flip-flopping (逆转). Still a few stubborn men hold their ground. Gridlock sets in, people reach their boiling points and personal prejudices reveal themselves.
Themes– The Triumph and the Fragility of Justice • The play is, in one sense, a celebration of justice, showing the workings of the American judicial system in a favorable light. • Although initially the jury is inclined to wrongly convict a man without any discussion of the case, the persistence of Juror Eight ensures that the right verdict is reached in the end. • The play is also a warning about the fragility of justice and the forces of complacency, prejudice, and lack of civic responsibility that would undermine it. Several jurors show that they are virtually incapable of considering the matter fairly and listening to opposing points of view. • Whether the play is regarded as a celebration of justice or a warning about how easily justice can be subverted depends on one's views about the likelihood of a juror similar to Juror Eight being present in every jury room.
About the text – jury trial system • The jury consists of 12 jurors, selected at random, agreed on by the lawyers of the two sides, who will, after hearing all the evidence and cross-examination and after careful deliberation, give a verdict of guilty or not guilty. If the verdict is guilty, then the judge will give the sentence. If the verdict is not guilty, then the judge will have to acquit the accused no matter whether he agrees with the verdict or not, and the acquitted cannot be tried on the same charge with the same evidence.
About the text–jury trial system cont’d • For those poor people who cannot afford to hire their own lawyer, the law says in the U.S. that a lawyer will be provided for them by the government with public money. However, that kind of lawyers usually do not take their duty very seriously because there is no incentive for them, no money, nor glory attached to it. In fact lawyers usually try to avoid this kind of duty if they can.
Unanimous jury verdicts have been standard in Western law. This standard was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1897, but it was rejected in 1972 in two criminal cases. • As of 1999 over 30 states had laws allowing less than unanimity in civil cases, but Oregon and Louisiana are the only states which have laws allowing less than unanimous jury verdicts for criminal cases. When the required number of jurors cannot agree on a verdict (a situation sometimes referred to as a hung jury), a mistrial is declared, and the case may be retried with a newly constituted jury. The practice generally was that the jury rules only on questions of facts on guilt; setting the penalty was reserved for the judge. This has been changed by rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court such as in Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S.284 (2002), which found Arizona's practice, having the judge (in a capital punishment trial by jury) decide between life or death sentences, to be unconstitutional, and reserved that decision for the jury. • The judge can, however, overrule the jury and reduce the penalty from death to life if he or she chooses, although this has not yet occurred in an actual trial.
About the text – court system The play gives insight into several aspects of the American court system: • The accused is deemed innocent until and unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; • The burden of proof is on the prosecutor; • In most cases, to find a defendant guilty of a felony; • A trial does not aim at discovering who committed a particular crime, but rather the innocence or guilt of the accused. • This system is valuable and has avoided many terrible mistakes like in the case of this play, but it is not infallible and can in fact be quite precarious.
About the text – court system cont’d • What if No. 8 were a different sort of person, or if the boy really had stabbed his father. • The jurors are also people, and people make mistakes. • A jury usually includes a range of characters from the fair-minded to the bigoted like in this play. • After all, any system is effective only to the degree of the intelligence and moral standard of the people who make it an operate it. • Today we are talking about judicial reform in keeping with our economic and social development. • It is no doubt useful for us to see how the system works in other countries.
About the text cont’d_西方的陪审员制度 • 1801年托马斯·杰弗逊总统在其就职演讲中曾说过：“我认为陪审团制度是一个政府赖以维护其宪法最高原则的基石，是人类迄今所能想象得到的一个伟大发明。”要理解陪审员制度，先要了解两个概念。 • 第一，假定无罪（Presumed innocent until provedguilty），即被告在被证明有罪之前应被认为是无罪的。从理论上来说，“假定无罪论”体现了对生命权的尊重，减少了冤假错案的机率； • 第二，合理疑点 (Reasonable doubt ),即一个普通，公正，诚实，理智并且谨慎的人是头脑里对被告的罪行产生的疑点。在法庭审判时，检方若要指控被告有罪，一定要提出确凿可信的证据来证明被告的罪行。陪审员们必须排除任何有理疑点才能确定被告的罪行。这个术语包含一个极为重要的原则：由于刑事案人命关天，所以陪审团在裁决无罪时，不一定非要确信被告清白无辜。只要检方呈庭证据破绽较多，没达到“超越合理怀疑“的严格标准，尽管有很多迹象表明被告涉嫌犯罪，但陪审团仍然可以判决被告无罪。然而在许多情况下，这两个原则也有助于罪犯逃脱惩罚。
About the text cont’d_西方的陪审员制度 如果一个罪犯很有钱，他就能雇佣精通法律又愿意为了钱替任何人辩护的律师。而这些巧舌如簧的律师则不难在证人的证词中挑出漏洞，使陪审员产生“合理”疑点。 例如1995年轰动美国的“辛普森涉嫌杀妻案”，前橄榄球超级明星O.J.辛普森腰缠万贯，不惜花费重金，聘请了号称天下无敌的“梦幻律师队”为自己开脱罪名。这帮律师凭着利用美国社会的种族矛盾以及刑事诉讼程序中的漏洞，把掌握着“如山血证“的检察官和警方证人驳得目瞪口呆，在舆论一致认为辛普森有罪的情况下，由他的律师挑选的黑人占多数（9/12）的陪审团最终却裁决他无罪开释。有人说，美国司法审判制度的一个重要特点是“宁可漏网一千，不可错杀一人”。此语极为传神。 美国最高法院大法官道格拉斯(William O. Douglas，任期1939－1975)精辟指出：“权利法案的绝大部分条款都与程序有关，这绝非毫无意义。正是程序决定了法治与随心所欲或反复无常的人治之间的大部分差异。坚定地遵守严格的法律程序，是我们赖以实现法律面前人人平等的主要保证。”
Written work-translation • In some countries in the West, there is a principle guiding a criminal court: the court must prove the accused person’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In other words, the accused is held innocent until proved guilty. Reasonable doubt refers to the doubt that could arise in the mind of an ordinary, impartial, honest, reasonable and cautious person with reference to the accused’s guilt. • In theory, the concept of holding the accused innocent until proved guilty makes sure that a case is not misjudged and that an innocent person is not unjustly treated. In the one-act play Twelve Angry Men, Juror No. 8 uses this concept to save the boy’s life. He raises one reasonable doubt after another until the other jurors agree that there is no evidence to prove that the boy is guilty.
Written work-translation cont’d • However, in many other cases, this practice may also help criminals to escape punishment. If a criminal is very rich, he can hire very competent lawyers to defend him. If his lawyers are experienced and steeped (精通) in the law, and ready to defend anyone for money, it wouldn’t be too difficult for them to pick holes in the testimony of the witnesses and raise “reasonable” doubts. Moreover, a lawyer is trained to ignore questions of right (正义) and wrong, guilt or innocence, and try to find ways to keep his client out of court and out of jail.
Text B _ Shot Actress - H.E. Bates • In Shot Actress - A watchmaker's life is turned upside-down by rumor and innuendo after he finds his neighbor dead in her bathroom.
About the author _ H.E.Bates • Bates, H. E. (Herbert Ernest Bates), 1905-74, English author, b. Rushden, Northamptonshire. • During World War II he served with the Royal Air Force. A good storyteller, Bates had the ability to render the sense of a particular place and time and was noted for his descriptions of the English countryside. • Among his many novels are Fair Stood the Wind for France (1944), The Jacaranda Tree (1949), and The Triple Echo (1970).
The Summary of Othello-shorter version • This drama is one of the great tragedy themed plays by William Shakespeare. Othello is a highly esteemed general in the service of Venice. Iago is Othello‘s ambitious friend. Othello promotes the Michael Cassio to the position of personal lieutenant and Iago is deadly jealous. Iago begins an evil and malicious campaign against the hero. Othello elopes with Desdemona but Iago starts to plot against them. Othello becomes jealous and suspicious of Desdemona. He confides in Iago that he plans to poison Desdemona. Plots and murders ensue and Othello returns to the castle to kill his innocent wife. He eventually smothers her to death. Emilia tells Othello the truth about the scheming (诡计多端的) Iago. Othello wounds Iago, then kills himself. Iago kills Emilia.
Summary of Othello – longer version In the opening scene, Iago complains to Roderigo that Othello, his Commander, has passed him over to promote the handsome young Cassio to be his Lieutenant. He vows to get revenge. Iago first asks Roderigo to tell Desdemona's father, Brabantio, that his daughter has left to marry Othello, a marriage Brabantio opposes because Othello is a Moor. Brabantio confronts Othello, and they take their argument to the Duke, who has summmoned Othello to ask him to sail to Cyprus to stop a Turkish invasion. Convinced by Othello and Desdemona that they love each other deeply despite their differences, the Duke gives Desdemona permission to travel with Othello. By the time they reach Cyprus the foreign threat has gone.
Summary of Othello – longer version cont’d • Iago manipulates Cassio to make him drunk and gets Roderigo to draw him into a street fight. Iago has his revenge on Cassio when Othello strips Cassio of his rank for misbehavior. Then Iago decides to make Othello believe his wife is unfaithful. He encourages Cassio to ask Desdemona to plead with Othello to be reinstated. Iago suggests to Othello that Desdemona is Cassio's lover. Trusting Iago, and mad with jealousy, Othello promotes Iago and asks Iago to help him kill Cassio and Desdemona. • Iago plants Desdemona's handkerchief in Cassio's room. Cassio gives it to his mistress, Bianca. Othello believes Bianca's possession of the handkerchief is proof that Desdemona and Cassio are lovers. He verbally abuses his wife in front of others, who are shocked at the change in the noble and powerful man.
Summary of Othello – longer version cont’d • Iago has manipulated Roderigo into trying to kill Cassio. The attempt goes wrong, and Cassio wounds Roderigo; Iago stabs Cassio in the leg. Othello hears Cassio cry out and thinks Iago has killed him. He returns home, ready to kill Desdemona. Meanwhile, Iago "finds" the wounded Cassio and accuses Bianca of causing Cassio's injury. Iago quietly kills Roderigo and sends Emilia (Iago's wife) to Desdemona with news of what has happened. • Othello reaches the sleeping Desdemona first. He kisses her, wakes her, and accuses her again. Over her protests that she loves him and is innocent, he smothers her. Emilia enters and Desdemona revives for a moment, declaring herself guiltless but saying, as she dies, that Othello is innocent of her death. Iago and others enter, and Emilia defends Desdemona's innocence, recognizing that Iago is behind the tragedy. Othello sees the truth and tries to kill Iago. Iago kills Emilia and flees; Othello condemns himself and commits suicide. Iago is seized and taken away.