At a Glance

On a hot summer day in New York City, twelve men are called to sit on the jury of a murder trial. The defendant, an eighteen-year-old boy, is on trial for killing his abusive father. He's being tried for first-degree murder, which means that if convicted he'll receive a death sentence.

  • Irritated by the heat, the jurors cast a preliminary vote: eleven guilty, one not guilty. Juror Eight voted not guilty and demands that they discuss the case before casting another vote.
  • Juror Eight begins to poke holes in the prosecution's case. He argues that the knife used in the crime is a common one and that anyone could've killed the father. He also notes that the witnesses (the downstairs neighbor and the woman across the street) are not likely to have seen what they said they saw.
  • Gradually, the jurors change their votes. For a while, it seems like they'll have a hung jury, but Juror Eight's arguments are successful. The last holdout, Juror Three, finally changes his vote to not guilty. The boy is acquitted.


(Drama for Students)

Act 1

Twelve Angry Men takes place in a jury room in the late afternoon on a hot summer's day in New York...

(The entire section is 1402 words.)