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This play has assisted me to form a greater appreciation of the best and worst aspects of human nature. Through creative use of literary techniques, the play unfolds to delve into themes of prejudice, responsibility, justice, group dynamics and standing up for one’s views and beliefs. I believe this text effectively captures the best and worst aspects of human nature.
Through juxtaposition and setting, you have explored how the jury reflects upon human nature. As the jurors entered the jury room, you ensured there was a juxtaposition of characters, each coming from a different profession or background. The basis of each juror’s personality and opinions on their work or experiences effectively captures the differences between humans. For example, Juror Four is a stockbroker who needs to make good decisions under pressure whilst working and is therefore controlled, methodical and logical. As an architect, Juror 8 is calm and systematically examines the evidence. You have also characterized him as the representative for integrity who emphases the idea of “reasonable doubt” and investigates the weaknesses in the “circumstantial evidence.” Setting plays a key role in reflecting upon human nature, in that the “drab” jury room is opposite the New York skyline, representing the American dream, with its focus on individuality, money and business. This reflects upon how personal motives within the jury are dominant. Through contrast and contradiction, you have highlighted the fact that the jury system seems to be downgraded. As a result, you skillfully demonstrated how prejudice is interferes with the truth, and expertly, the setting becomes a reflection of this.
Through setting and character interaction, prejudice and emotional tension are explored. You deliberately used the setting as a mirror of the emotional tension in the room arising because of the conflict caused by the jurors’ heated personalities and prejudices. For example, it is the “hottest day on record” and yet there are no fans. Consequently, the heat is evident and many of the jury members are anxious for a quick resolution, specifically those, like the 10th who has the flu. This emotional tension reaches a climax when the 3rd juror grabs the 8th in a state of emotive unrest and shouts, “I’m gonna kill you,” highlighting the worst aspects of human society upon the jury. Stage direction is utilized when the Guard continuously locks and unlocks the door, “in the silence the sound is heard of the door being locked.” This represents jurors’ closed minds, reflected by the prejudice that governs their manner concerning the boy who is a “born liar” and should be “slapped… before they make trouble.”
Through use of symbolism, use of props and setting, Rose explores responsibility for civic duties, group dynamics and contemplation. In Act II when the majority of the jury believes the boy is guilty, there is change of weather and the rain suddenly “pours down.” The foreman’s reference to the football game is utilized as a metaphor for the change in group dynamics as the support of Juror Eight gains momentum and gradually the tension is soothed. As an assistant football coach, the foreman states that the rain changed the characteristics of the game and upturned the predicted result. Juror Eight, the protagonist of the story reflects and gathers thoughts at the window. When Juror Ten goes on a racist rant, the entire jury stand up and move across the room, contemplating and therefore understanding Ten’s, and the other of the jurors’ prejudice and ignorance, particularly Three. Whilst some jurors are irresponsible as they serve for the jury, for example when playing Tic-Tac-Toe, other members feel responsibility for civic duties. Juror Eight especially feels responsible, driving him to collate evidence and facts, eventually swaying the views of the whole jury to not-guilty, justifying that a boy’s life is in the jury’s hands.
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