In Twelve Angry Men, Act III, how does Five's background become important in the jury's deliberations?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Twelve Angry Men, Juror Five's background brings an experienced insight to the table at which the twelve men deliberate. Because Juror Five has personally witnessed many a fight with switchblades, he knows that the user of one of these knives does not stab a person in a downward stroke, such as was made on the victim, the father of the accused boy.

Juror Five has been silent and tentative about speaking up, but when the old man who is a witness testifies that he heard the boy yell out that he was going to kill his father, Juror Five knows that this older man could not have heard anything over the roaring train that passed by at the time. This is why he has changed his vote to Not Guilty. Now, he realizes another purported fact is dubious. So, he feels compelled to speak up.

No.5 Wait a minute! What's the matter with me? Give me that.
No.8 Have you ever seen a knife fight?
No.5 Yes, I have.....In my back yard. On my stoop. In the vacant lot across the street. Too many of them....Funny I didn't think of it before....Anyone's who's ever used a switch-knife would never have stabbed downward. You don't handle a switch-knife would never have stabbed downward....You use it underhanded.
No.8 Then he couldn't have made the kind of wound which killed his father.
No.5 No. He couldn't have, not if he'd ever had any experience with switch-blades.

Certainly, Juror 5's objective testimony is very important to the witness in the play as he presents very reasonable objections to the so-called facts.




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Twelve Angry Men

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