In the opening of Act 2, Juror 11 praises the fact that people can hold unpopular opinions in this country. He continues speaking about democracy. Why does Reginald Rose give him these lines?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The twelve jurors who are deliberating over a murder case in Twelve Angry Men have a variety of backgrounds, personalities, and perspectives. The author, Reginald Rose, uses various characters at various points in the drama to bring out positive and negative characteristics of the American jury system. Juror 11 is an interesting character. Juror 11 is the only one of the twelve men who is a naturalized citizen, having come from Europe as an immigrant. He speaks with an accent, possibly German or Eastern European. In the film, he is a watchmaker by trade. Although it is not stated explicitly, it is very possible the man is Jewish and left Europe to escape heavy persecution. With this background, as a newcomer to America and having tasted first-hand the effects of living under a non-democratic regime, he has the best ethos for praising the American justice system. He is able to express ideas that the other jurors no doubt take for granted: that people in America have freedom of speech and that they need not fear retribution from a tyrannical government simply for speaking their own opinions. Of all the characters, Juror 11 has the most realistic reason to speak in defense of democracy and free speech. 

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Twelve Angry Men

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