Twelve Angry Men (Essay Sample)

Twelve Angry Men

Twelve Angry Men is a drama play based on the scripts of Reginald Rose. The main concern of the play is on the jury of a homicide case trial. The concentration of the trial is focused on the boy’s life that is at stake on the jury. The play presents the American judicial system during the post Second War Era. During that time, the punishment for homicide incidents faces much more sanctions than the present judicial proceedings. During the course of the play, the story concentrates on the 12 jury member’s activities towards the suspect’s homicide trial. These 12 men will deliberate with each other to determine the fate of the 18-year-old suspect who is currently undergoing a serious legal case. In any case that the suspect will be convicted as guilty as charged, he will immediately face execution.


As for the story, the play focuses on the capital murder case of an 18-year-old man. On the crime scene, the authorities discovered that the victim sustained multiple stab wounds all over his body. The cause of death is severe bleeding as there were several large blood vessels that were cut and ruptured. After the police investigation, they discovered that the last person whom the victim was with is his son. Forensic results revealed that the main weapon is the knife. There were fingerprints that were detected after a careful analysis. The result of the fingerprint examination points out that it was the 18-year-old boy. The young adolescent was then treated as the alleged prime suspect in the homicide and is now awaiting trial. The boy is now facing a capital murder case trial due to the death of his father.

Significance of the 12-men Juror

During the trial, the court ordered a 12-man jury to observe the proceedings of the case. It is agreed that the participation of the 12-member jury is important. These individuals are regarded as the 12 apostles of the judge during the trial. They are given the chance to observe and assess the legal proceedings of the case. The jury members are the observers. They are seated in front of the court to face both sides while presenting their arguments and defenses. The American judiciary systems use the jury to prevent any bias during the court proceedings. The only limitation in this case, is to prevent any personal relationships towards any of the two sides of the hearing. Each jury should not have any personal connection to either the defendant or to the plaintiff. Any judges who will be caught having a personal relationship with any involved parties can cause a conflict of interest.

Interpretation of the 12 Angry Men

The twelve angry men is a clear representation of how a trial symbolizes fairness during the trial. The word angry represents the superficial behaviors of the 12-member jury. This word shows how the jury shows their facial reactions whenever the hearing takes place. You will observe that during the play, there are different facial reactions. Each facial reaction that is also presented during the play is usually smirks made by each jury while the case is ongoing. While the case is ongoing, these men are already documenting their observations regarding the case. Their facial expressions signify their initial reaction on every argument of the case. Each jury will be analyzing each argument presented by the two sides during the hearing every single session.

Prejudice and Stereotype

The play presented numerous angles of prejudices. There are some jurors who think that every single person living in slums are dangerous, wild, and should not be trusted. Other jurors were observed thinking more about their tickets to watch the game rather than giving an importance to the court. Since the boy is from the lowest class of the society, they are all the same. Casting out people from slums is a typical stereotype that we usually see in a person without analyzing the real situation of the scene, group, or individual. The essence of justice was not usually fair during the time where the play presented the situation during the 50’s decade. The main reason behind was the lack of study, evidence, and carefully analyzing the factors affecting the circumstance.

There is Always One that Stands Out

There is a saying that “In a group of negative people, there is one person who can stand for a principle that could overcome a set of prejudices.” This person is no other than Juror 8. He believes that the boy should be given a second chance to live and to correct all mistakes. One of the main reasons is that the boy’s life has already been taken away by this proceeding. The boy’s experience is traumatic because, at an early age, he was apprehended by law enforcement agencies. And as of that moment in court, he is still in the process of adjusting an environment that makes him feel miserable. The concept of death and dying at that point is already convincing for the boy that he will soon develop depression. Giving him another chance allows an opportunity to defend his rights and will achieve freedom.


At the end of the play, the characters did not present a concluding verdict regarding the boy’s case. They only present the aftermath of the whole argument, which was all about departing from the courtroom. The jurors in the case parted ways and never had to see each other again. The judge in the case was very glad to know that there are jurors who decided the verdict of the case. The only responsibility of the judge is to either accept or to deny the verdict. As a judge, the presence of jurors eliminates his responsibility to scrutinize the case. As a result, there is an ongoing prejudice, stereotype, and discrimination that have been applied in the case. This is why the jurors are there to deliberate and defend their opinions or principles after all arguments were presented by the two sides.


The conclusive insight taken from the play is all about the concept of understanding. Appreciating all views enhances more transparency to the case. During the time where the play was presented decades ago, there is a big difference between the present and the past court systems. The rights of man were not fully appreciated during that time. Overall, this play is fully recommended to the general audience and to the young individuals. They can witness how court systems run their own laws when it was not yet democratized. The play takes us back during the time of our grandparents wherein a traditional system of investigation and deliberation has been supported by our previous justice systems. There are numerous fruitful lessons that we can still learn from that play that relates to our real life in the present.

related articles