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Juror Eight as The Hero of The Play Twelve Angry Men

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Words: 1725 |

Pages: 4|

9 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

Words: 1725|Pages: 4|9 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

The play Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose presents twelve different jurors who come from various backgrounds in a jury room. Their job is to “separate the facts from the fancy” and to determine if there is “reasonable doubt to the guilt of the young boy who is being accused” (Act I) of first-degree murder against his father. The play shows that the criminal justice system is flawed, but men like juror eight can prove that there is faith in the jury system. Juror eight, a quiet, thoughtful gentleman who sees all sides of every question and seeks the truth fights for justice against biases of the other jurors to prove that there is reasonable doubt in the case and wins an acquittal for the defendant; without juror eight a possibly innocent man would have been executed. Twelve Angry Men uses the protagonist, juror eight, as the hero of the play to support the theme that despite evil and prejudice in the justice system, there are jurors like number eight who symbolize an optimistic future for the criminal justice system.

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Juror eight fights for justice against the biases displayed by other jurors, which gives the audience hope that more jurors will fight for justice as well. It is obvious that members of the jury had already made up their minds when they first walk into the jury room. Yet, juror eight “votes not guilty and convinces the others to look at the evidence and testimonies more closely”. Although eleven other jurors voted for a guilty verdict, Juror eight states that “it’s not easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it” (Act I), proving that he wants to consider reasonable doubt and fight for justice, regardless of the other jurors not wanting to. Despite juror three being sadistic, juror eight explains that the only job they have as jurors is to prove whether there is or is not reasonable doubt; Eight questions threes intentions when he asks him if he is “his executioner?” (Act II), which proves that he is not afraid to have a disagreement with the other jurors who are prejudice towards the suspect. Eight also challenges juror three about his knowledge on knife fighting when he questioned him “Doesn’t it seem like an awkward way to handle a knife for an experienced knife fighter?” (Act III). By eight constantly proving that the jurors are wrong, he shows that he is not afraid to fight for justice against biases.

In Twelve Angry Men, juror eight proves that there is reasonable doubt and wins an acquittal for the defendant. Juror eight explains to the other jurors that he isn’t “trying to make anyone accept other possibilities. He’s just saying it’s possible,” Juror eight is trying to prove that there is a possibility that the witnesses could be unreliable, and he is trying to convince the other jurors to discard their close-mindedness. Another reason why juror eight wins an acquittal for the defendant is because he describes to the ignorant that their jobs as jurors are only to find reasonable doubt and “whether or not the boy on trial is guilty” (Act II), not to prove that he is innocent. Juror eight finds reasonable doubt in all the witness’s testimonies, he shares this with the other jurors and explains how the testimonies could be unreliable and false.

Juror eight explained to the other jurors that the man who testified that he heard the boy say “I’m going to kill you,” is an unreliable source because he had to have heard the boy yell that over an El train and that is nearly impossible; He also explained that the old man moves too slow to have watched the boy run down the stairs, since it takes him longer than fifteen seconds to go from his bedroom to his front door. Another testimony that was proven wrong was the testimony of the storekeeper who claimed that he sold the boy an “unusual knife” (Act I) the night of the murder, yet juror eight has the same exact one, which convinced some jurors that the storekeeper could be lying. Next, Juror five and eight find reasonable doubt in the way that the father was killed. Since the boy grew up in a poor neighborhood, he should be experienced in knife fighting and an experienced knife fighter would not create a wound like the one the victim had. Lastly, the jurors find reasonable doubt in the fact that it is not possible that the woman saw the murder happen through the last two windows of a moving El train when she did not have enough time to put on her glasses. It is almost impossible for her to see clearly in the dark, especially since she wears thick bifocals. Majority of the jurors used the witness’s testimony as the reason as to why they decided on a guilty verdict. However, once they found reasonable doubt in the witness’s statements, the defendant had a greater chance of acquittal.

Number eights opinions about the trial are all based on compassionate, reasonable decisions and this symbolizes an optimistic future for the criminal system. Throughout the play, juror eight works hard and makes sure that all of his decisions “are based on facts”. At the beginning of the play, Juror eight explains that his goal isn’t to convince the other jurors that the boy is innocent. Juror eight only “wants to talk for while” and feels that he “owes the boy a few words.” (Act I) about whether there is a possibility of reasonable doubt or not. Juror eight wants to make sure that the other juror’s opinions are compassionate and reasonable as well. Eight considers all of the possibilities to ensure that there is a fair trial, he explains to four that “it’s possible that the boy lost the knife and that someone else stabbed his father with a similar one” (Act I), eight wants the others to see that there is reasonable doubt behind this case. Although, eight wants all the jurors to see that there is reasonable doubt and wants their verdicts to be based on reasonable decisions, he assures them that “they have a right” to decide that the defendant is guilty; This proves that juror eight is a compassionate person whose opinions are based on reasonable decisions and want the other jurors to feel the same.

Eight gives the audience faith in the jury system by proving that he is educated, fair and is not afraid to disagree with others. Juror two believed that the defendant was guilty, simply because no one proved otherwise, but eight counters his statement by explaining that “Nobody has to prove otherwise. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. The defendant doesn’t have to open his mouth” (Act I), this shows that there are jurors who are educated about what their job is and how the judicial system works. Additionally, eight shows that he is educated about the judicial system by informing the other jurors that their only job is to “decide whether or not the boy on trial is guilty, we’re not concerned with anyone else’s motives” (Act II). Without juror eight educating the other jurors of this information, the boy would’ve been convicted because the jurors did not know how the judicial system works. Eight also discusses how the boy’s defense counsel “hardly seemed interested” in the case, exposing how attorneys are overworked and that they don’t have time to properly defend their client. Many innocent men are sent to prison because they don’t have the funds to be properly defended. Despite the defense counsel doing a poor job and defending his client, juror eight tries his hardest to prove that there is reasonable doubt, giving faith the audience faith in the judicial system. Number eight is the only juror that fought for justice and wanted to show others that they should discuss the case before deciding their verdict, without him, there would not be much faith left in the jury system.

Without juror eight, an innocent man would be executed. Juror eight was able to prove to all of the other jurors that there was reasonable doubt and without him being brave enough, all of the other jurors would have agreed on a guilty verdict; He exposes the inconstancies of the witness testimonies. Juror eight is a man who is focused on the truth of the case and refuses to give up until the other jurors face that truth”. By asking juror five “do you think he lied” (Act I) about the boy losing the knife, he lets those afraid and quiet be heard by showing them that they are not alone. Five is a naïve and frightened young man and juror eight helped him speak up. Number nine is also a gentleman who is unsure of the case. He feels defeated by life but juror eight shows support for him and tells him that he has “a right to be heard” (Act II), without juror nines thoughts on the old man who testified then no one would understand that the witness had lied in order to feel important. Another way juror eight saves the boy is by the “proposition” he makes, eight proposes that they will take another vote and if he did not convince any jurors that there was reasonable doubt then he will change his verdict to guilty, but if there are less than eleven votes for guilty than he will continue to prove that there is more reasonable doubt in the case. By stating this proposition, he proves that he is confident that there is a reasonable doubt; He also stops the boy from being prosecuted with this proposal.

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Juror eight worked diligently throughout the play to ensure that the defendant received a fair trial. Unlike the other jurors, eight knows that his job as a member of the jury is not to say if the defendant was innocent or guilty, but to determine if there was reasonable doubt. Juror eight uses compassion, reasonable doubt and justice in order to symbolize an optimistic future for the criminal justice system. Without juror eight, an innocent boy would have been prosecuted. He symbolizes faith in the jury system, his opinions are reasonable and compassionate, he also proves reasonable doubt and fights for justice against biases. 

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Juror Eight As The Hero Of The Play Twelve Angry Men. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/juror-eight-as-the-hero-of-the-play-twelve-angry-men/
“Juror Eight As The Hero Of The Play Twelve Angry Men.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/juror-eight-as-the-hero-of-the-play-twelve-angry-men/
Juror Eight As The Hero Of The Play Twelve Angry Men. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/juror-eight-as-the-hero-of-the-play-twelve-angry-men/> [Accessed 13 Jul. 2024].
Juror Eight As The Hero Of The Play Twelve Angry Men [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Aug 06 [cited 2024 Jul 13]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/juror-eight-as-the-hero-of-the-play-twelve-angry-men/
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