12 Angry Men Essay: Vce English

762 words - 4 pages

Through his play 'Twelve Angry Men,' Reginald Rose explores the numerous factors which lead individuals to the feelings and responses they experience. The jurors provide the audience with a representation of the ways in which people in general can think and act as a result of their subjective experiences. Surrounding elements such as social context, the media and the importance one places on logic and rationale also mould the way we perceive things. As such, Rose intends for the audience to reflect on their own prejudices and biases, through the identification of these ugly, and perhaps parallel qualities identifiable in some of the jurors.
Over the course of the play, Rose presents the ...view middle of the document...

The fourth juror's absolute focus on facts is gently critiqued by Rose, and although his intentions may be perceived by some as ultimately good, his constant desire to 'talk facts' appears as non-emotive, and at times, quite cold. Indeed, in the exploration of the fourth juror's character, Rose instantly draws attention to other characters almost contempt for genuine, factual data, replacing it instead with prejudice and bias. The tenth juror is the clearest example, a racist bigot whose opinions rely entirely on what he may consider truths or evidence, but upon further scrutiny are merely unjustifiable views, stemming from fear of the 'other.' While perhaps his explanations may skim across factual proofs, it becomes increasingly clear to the audience that their decisions are based solely on chauvinism and an anxiety of the unknown so strong that it reveals itself as hatred.
It is also the attitudes and social expectations that we are surrounded by which have an effect on the way we think and the judgements we make. The rebellious teen culture, prominent in America at the time of the play is at times an underlying, invisible influence, while at others it is a concentrated factor, which highlights the role society's attitudes and values hold. The accused was a sixteen year old boy, and while...

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