How is the knife in Act 1 the climax? Why do the jurors begin to have doubts after?
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The knife revelation in Act I is not the climax—it is the first complication (using Scribe’s vocabulary here), the first revelation that shows the jury decision is not going to go “undramatically.” It puts the first doubts in the prosecution’s evidence, and begins the breakdown of the false logic that all the jurors think is self-evident (except, of course, Juror #3). Through the rising action (again, Scribe’s term) of exposing each juror’s pre-judgment that brought a 11-1 vote on the first ballot, as #3 confronts the hotheaded Juror #8 (and as each of the other jurors admits prejudgments that they brought to the courtroom), the play progresses to the climax, the re-enactment of the prosecutor’s version of what happened. The climax of the play comes when Juror #8 explodes, and the new vote shows a reversal of the results.
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