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Twelve Angry Men

by Reginald Rose
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Before the jurors are locked in their room, what is the last thing they hear that might influence their thinking when deciding the defendant’s guilt or innocence?

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The last thing the jurors hear before entering the room to decide the case is one of the guards saying, "He doesn't stand a chance!" in reference to the young man on trial for murder. In other words, he means that there is no way the young man will be...

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The last thing the jurors hear before entering the room to decide the case is one of the guards saying, "He doesn't stand a chance!" in reference to the young man on trial for murder. In other words, he means that there is no way the young man will be found innocent. What does this show about the guard's opinion of the young man? Even if he thought he was innocent, what does this say about the situation being a fair one? Why might the young man have no possibility of being found innocent no matter what? It's as if the case has been decided before the jurors even discuss the facts.

This is a strong statement to start the play, which could predict or even influence the jurors' opinions before they even begin to discuss his guilt or innocence. Have you ever been influenced by other people's opinions? Have you ever made a judgement based on appearance or before knowing all the facts? I know I have! The message: we need to be careful about what we say and try not to be influenced by others.

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