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Twelve Angry Men

by Reginald Rose

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In Twelve Angry Men, how is equality portrayed through Juror 10?

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Juror 10 is a man who does not believe in the equality of people of various races and ethnicities. At a few points during the drama, he makes it clear that he paints all people who live in the "slums" as being "all alike." When he first makes such a comment, Juror 5, who grew up in the slums, takes offense and says, "You can probably still smell it on me." Other jurors step in to calm things down. Later when Juror 10 brings up the testimony of the eyewitness, Juror 8 asks him pointedly, "How come you believe her? She's one of them, isn't she?" Eventually Juror 10 goes on a bigoted rant, saying that "these people" are always drinking and shooting one another; he says that life doesn't mean to them "what it means to us." In the 1957 film version, jurors get up one by one during his rant and turn their backs to him. When he realizes what they are doing, he says, "What's happening here? You know about them, don't you?" Finally everyone has turned his back or shown his displeasure in the man's bigoted speech. Juror 4 tells him to sit down and not speak again. Juror 8 then sums up the scene by saying that whenever prejudice gets in the way, it is ugly and perverts justice. 

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