12 Angry Men

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“No matter where you run into it, prejudice obscures the truth.” Discuss with reference to the text. Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men explores twelve ordinary men’s quest for justice as they struggle to determine the fate of a young boy. The play, set in America, 1957, examines the strengths and weaknesses of the judicial system and the difficulty of ensuring the right decision is made. The playwright illustrates the difficulty of making impartial decisions, unbiased by prejudice. He asserts the way in which such prejudice can “obscure the truth.” Furthermore, the author asserts the effects of other human fallibilities, such as personal experience and preconceived ideas, on the decision making process. However, Rose asserts that such weaknesses can be overcome if there is at least one person who is acting honourably and has the courage to stand against opposition, for through his actions, he can initiate others to acknowledge their prejudice and seek justice. Through the frailty of prejudice portrayed by the jurors, Rose asserts the difficulty of making objective decisions, and the effects such fallibilities have on the stability of the judicial system. Rose initially depicts the prejudice held by the majority of the jurors through the haste with which eleven of the twelve jury members reach a decision. Despite being required to deliberate a case with such serious consequences, all bar one of the jurors believe that there is an “obvious” truth, that it is “one of those open and shut things.” These views highlight the author’s concern as he demonstrates the ease with which the wrong decision could be made, as a result of prejudice. The author further evinces that prejudice, being so common in society at the time in which the play was written and in contemporary society, can easily “obscure the truth” to the point that one is unable to be convinced even

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