How does Twelve Angry Men relate to the individual?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This excellent play places an incredible amount of responsibility on the individual, especially in the context of upholding justice and ensuring that the defendant of the case that is being debated receives a fair trial. Let us remember that it is Juror Eight that is the only one who has the courage of his convictions and is able to express his doubt to the rest of the Jurors, who feel that they can give a guilty verdict straight away. The importance of the agency that we have as individuals is thus recognized and stressed. Note how Juror Eight defends his decision to not vote for a guilty verdict:

There were eleven votes for guilty. It's not so easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first.

Juror Eight takes his position as juror seriously and, even though he starts off being against the rest of the jurors, he does not give in to peer pressure and shows how one person standing up for their beliefs can actually impress others with the necessity of standing up for what they believe, even when faced with the bigotry, hostility and downright violence of other members of the jury. This play therefore celebrates the power of the individual and the way that we can go against the flow or stand against the rest of our crowd because of our own beliefs and thoughts, and then be successful in helping others to change their perspective as well.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial