Bias In Twelve Angry Men (Film) Essay

1024 Words 5 Pages
‘It's very hard to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And no matter where you run into it, prejudice obscures the truth.' [Juror 8, page 53] Perhaps this best sums up the basis of ‘Twelve Angry Men' by Reginald Rose. This play is about a young delinquent on trial for the murder of his abusive father. The jury must find him guilty if there is no reasonable doubt, and in turn, sentence him to death. ‘I don't envy your job. You are faced with a grave responsibility.' [Judge, page 1]

People's bias and predispositions can affect their opinion of different circumstances and different people. This is very evident throughout the play. After the first group vote and juror 8 votes not guilty, a discussion ensues. It is there that
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You're not gonna tell me you believe that phony story about losing the knife, and that business about being at the movies. Look, you know how these people lie! It's born in them! I mean what the heck? I don't even have to tell you. They don't know what the truth is! And lemme tell you, they don't need any real big reason to kill someone, either! No sir! [Juror 10, page 51] This type of prejudice offended many of the other jurors, especially Juror 5 who is of similar race to the accused.

However, it isn't just the jurors' own personal prejudice that affects the way they vote. The prosecution of the boy led the jurors to believe that he was a guilty beyond all doubt. Also, the boy's representation was uninterested and uncaring. ‘I kept putting myself in the boy's place. I would have asked for another lawyer, I think. I mean, if I was on trial for my life I'd want my lawyer to tear the prosecution witnesses to shreds, or at least to try.' [Juror 8, page 14]

This case was one of truth and justice. It becomes evident when the Juror 9 says to Juror 10. ‘Do you think you have a monopoly on truth?' [Juror 9, page 8] The fact is, nobody really knows what the truth is, and at the end of the play, still nobody does. The boy may have been guilty, but as Juror 8 pointed out, who were they to make that assumption? Most of the Jurors had taken for granted that what the prosecution had told them was the truth. Through much discussion the Jurors realised that this may

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