In order to convince Juror 8 of the defendant's guilt, the jurors decide to discuss the facts of the case. What do Jurors 4, 8, and 9 think about the facts of the case?  

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Twelve Angry Men, twelve jurors deliberate a murder case, seeking to come to a unanimous decision about whether the boy on trial is guilty of killing his father. Juror 8 begins by saying he doesn't know if the boy is guilty but feels that the jurors owe it to him to discuss his case thoroughly. Some points of evidence he brings up are:

  • The murder weapon was a switchblade knife that had a supposedly unique appearance, yet Juror 8 was able to purchase one that looks just like it. He brings it out during the deliberations to the surprise of the other jurors.
  • The man in the neighboring apartment testified he heard the boy shout, "I'll kill you!" at his father just before the murder, but by comparing his testimony to that of the other witness, Juror 8 determines the man would have had to hear that shout over the sound of a passing el train, which he and other jurors believe would be impossible.
  • The old man also testified that he saw the boy rushing downstairs, but Juror 8 re-enacts the timing of the shout and how long it would have taken the man, who dragged one foot, to get to the door. The timing casts doubt on the man's testimony.

Juror 4 is a very logical stockbroker. He finds most convincing two pieces of evidence: that the boy's alibi was flimsy because he could not remember the names of the movies he had seen at the time the murder was taking place, and the woman who lived across the el tracks said she witnessed the murder through the windows of the passing el train. He eventually comes to doubt the testimony of the eyewitness and realizes that stress could have caused the boy to forget the names of the films.

Juror 9, an elderly gentleman who is the second to vote "not guilty," seems less concerned with facts than feelings; nevertheless, his keen powers of observation become useful in damaging the reliability of the two key witnesses in the case. He notices that the elderly man wears a tattered coat and assumes this is the first chance he has had in his life to be really listened to, possibly causing him to embellish the importance of his role in the case. Juror 9 is also the one who remembers the eyewitness as having "those marks on the side of her nose" that could only be caused by glasses, suggesting that she would not have been able to observe the murder happening from so far away. He suggests her vanity kept her from wearing her glasses when she testified so that the attorneys did not think to pursue her eyesight as an issue.

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Twelve Angry Men

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