1 Answer | Add Yours
Reginal Rose's play Twelve Angry Men begins after the trial of a nineteen-year-old man on a first-degree murder charge. The jury retires to the large, stuffy room in which they will decide the fate of the young man. Written in 1954, a time when juries were solely composed of white males, there are still differences among the men as their occupations vary as do their perspectives. With 90% of the United States composed of Caucasians, that the defendent comes from a slum does not necessarily indicate that he is a minority. At any rate, Rose does not mention the youth's ethnicity. Therefore, the bias of Juror Ten is one regarding socio-economic status.
In Act One, for instance, as Juror No. 2 grumbles about the length of the trial, but finishes with "Everybody gets a fair trial." Juror No. 7 alludes to testimony about the knife, asking the others, "Did you ever hear a phonier story?" and Juror No. 10 "wisely" responds,
"Well, look, you've gotta expect that. You know what your're dealing with."
After the foreman has the jurors sit at the table, Juror No. 10 continues to disparage the slum environment,
"It's tough to figure, isn't it? A kid kills his father. Bing! Just like that. Well, it's the element. They let the kids run wild. Maybe it serves 'em right."
As the discussion continues, Juror No. 10 continues to deprecate the youth as a product of a slum environment and, therefore, not deserving of credibility,
....We don't owe him a thing. He got a fair trial, didn't he? You know what that trial cost? ....Look, we're all grown-ups here. You're not going to tell us that we're supposed to believe him, knowing what he is. I've lived among 'em all my life. You can't believe a word they say....
As the discussion continues, Juror No. 10 is convinced the youth lied--"Sure he lied!"--and wants to vote. Then, by Act Three, after much debate and re-examination of the facts and evidence of the trial, the other jurors repudiate Juror No. 10, especially after he rants,
"I'll tell you something. The crime is being committed right in this room....I don't understand...Look, you know how those people lie...They don't know what the truth is....Human life don't mean as much to them as it does to us...Look, these people are drinking and fighting all the time, and if somebody gets killed....They don't care...."
Listed by the author as a "bigot," Juror No. 10 certainly proves himself to be one.
We’ve answered 334,140 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question