abstract illustration of twelve angry looking human faces

Twelve Angry Men

by Reginald Rose

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Topics for Further Study

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  • Most states in the United States insist on a unanimous jury in criminal cases, but two states accept majority verdicts. Write an essay discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
  • Is a jury of ordinary people the best way to reach a correct verdict in a trial? Would a panel of judges or other legal experts be a better way? Research a trial in which the jury reached a controversial verdict and write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper discussing these issues.
  • In what ways do Jurors Eight, Nine, and Eleven embody the ideal of active citizenship in a democracy? What kinds of threats to the success of democracy through active citizen participation are posed by Jurors Three, Seven, Ten, and Twelve? Team up with two other classmates and make a class presentation in which you discuss these issues.
  • In the play and the 1957 film, the jury is all-white and all-male. In the 1997 remake of the film, four jurors are African American. There are no women in any versions of the play. Should race and gender play a part in jury selection? Would female jurors or Hispanic jurors have been less willing to convict the defendant in Twelve Angry Men? Set up a classroom debate in which one person argues in favor of taking race and gender into account and the other person argues against it.
  • Watch the 1957 and the 1997 film versions of Twelve Angry Men. Give a class presentation, with clips from the movies if possible, outlining the major differences between the two versions. Do you prefer Henry Fonda's performance as Juror Eight, or Jack Lemmon's? Compare and contrast the ways at least two other jurors are presented.

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