What are some of the themes and symbols in Twelve Angry Men?

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Many themes are explored in the play Twelve Angry Men, which follows the discussion of a jury trying to decide whether a defendant is guilty or innocent.  The themes of justice, social inequality, and social responsibility are all present throughout this discussion.

The jurors can be seen as symbols for certain...

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Many themes are explored in the play Twelve Angry Men, which follows the discussion of a jury trying to decide whether a defendant is guilty or innocent.  The themes of justice, social inequality, and social responsibility are all present throughout this discussion.

The jurors can be seen as symbols for certain parts of society.  Juror Eight is the most liberal and open-minded of the group.  It is his vote, and his dissenting voice, which keeps the jury from delivering a speedy vote of guilty.

Juror Ten, on the other hand, symbolizes the bigotry and racism present in mid-century American society.  He assumes the defendant is guilty simply because he is from a bad part of town, and is determined to see him go to jail.

The theme of justice is present throughout the play, as Juror Eight urges his fellow jurors to look at the facts rather than rely on their emotional responses.  Ideal justice is therefore shown to be both logical and fair.

The theme of class is also present, and is personified by the bigotry of Juror Ten.  Even though there was a growing middle class in the 1950's when the play was written and first performed, class struggles were still present in society, and the play suggests that a person should be judged based on the facts of the case, not their social standing.

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