Power Struggle In Twelve Angry Men

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The power struggles between characters provide the play with its dramatic tension. Discuss In the realistic legal drama ‘Twelve Angry Men’, Reginald Rose illustrates how the conflicts that arise from achieving dominance in the deliberation, create pressure and excitement for the audience. By constructing twelve contrasting, unnamed jurors, representing ordinary Americans, in the 1950s, McCarthy era, Rose demonstrates how individual differences, including personalities, social backgrounds, irrational fear of ‘others’ and knowledge of their civic duty and the legal system can threaten justice in a democracy. The play is divided in symmetrical Acts because each ends in a confrontation involving the antagonist and protagonist. The best and worst…show more content…
Social background, personalities and beliefs influence the way individuals think. The 3rd Juror was a vengeful and aggressive man who is the last juror to change his vote to not guilty. At the end of ACT I, when he yells angrily at the 8th Juror ‘I’ll kill him, I’ll kill him’, the 8th Juror says ‘you don’t really mean you’ll kill me, do you?’ This conflict contributes to a major turning point because it brings closer to a unanimous ‘just verdict’ as other jurors learnt about flaws from strongly prejudiced people, like the 3rd juror. He contradicts himself by saying ‘Anybody says a thing like that…they mean it’ earlier in ACT 1 because he struggles to detach his personal feelings from the boy as he sees his own estranged son in the 16 years old defendant. Furthermore, the 10th Juror’s angry monologue at the end of ACT II, he demonizes people who are ‘different’. He reinforces McCarthyism by saying ‘get him before his kind gets us’. Later, he openly admits ‘I don’t give a goddamn about the law’. This evokes shock in the audience because of his disrespect for justice. This bitter diatribe leads to a narrative turning point when the 4th Juror angrily turns against his former ally and tells him to not open his ‘filthy mouth’ again. Hence, by creating the tension in the ‘hot’ ‘locked’ jury room, Rose invites the audience to understand that dangerous flaws such as prejudice can harm the judicial system which ultimately threaten

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