Prejudice In 12 Angry Men

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Prejudice and Stereotyping Twelve Angry Men shows that prejudice can be a dangerous thing. When they first enter the jury-room, many jurors are ready to convict the defendant, not just on the evidence and arguments presented by the prosecution but, frighteningly, because the boy is a member of a social group for whom the jury hold no respect, for whom the stereotypes are of hopeless lives and criminal behaviours. As 4th puts it, ‘slums are breeding grounds for criminals’ (p.12) and 10th adds, ‘the kids who crawl outa those places are real trash’ (p.12). While there may be statistical or subjective justifications for some of these opinions, there is little evidence to show that the opinions explain this particular murder. Certainly the…show more content…
Three characters openly state their prejudice against the accused boy because of his background. The 3rd Juror is prejudiced against him because of the antagonism between himself and his own son: “I think we’d be better off if we took these tough kids and slapped ‘em down before they make trouble, you know?” The 10th Juror believes, “These people are born to lie. Now, it’s the way they are and no intelligent man is gonna tell me otherwise. They don’t know what the truth is…They are different. They act different.” The 4th Juror has similar beliefs to the 10th Juror: “This boy, let’s say he’s a product of a filthy neighbourhood and a broken home. We can’t help that. We’re here to decide whether he’s guilty or innocent of murder…He was born in a slum. Slums are breeding grounds for criminals…Children from slum backgrounds are potential menaces to society…” While a number of other Jurors don’t say it, the 4th Juror’s prejudice is a pervasive one. The 7th Juror prejudges the boy because of his record: “Look at his record. He was in children’s court….” Reginald Rose shows us through this theme the difficulty there can be in obtaining objective…show more content…
The 8th Juror is an architect, the 7th Juror a salesman, the 11th Juror a watchmaker, the 12th Juror an ad man. The 4th Juror is a broker, the 10th Juror a mechanic. Some are young, some are old. Not only do the characters have different jobs, they also come from different social backgrounds. We can hear this in the way they speak. The 3rd Juror and the 10th Juror speak very colloquially, the 8th Juror and the 4th Juror don’t. The backgrounds they come from influence the values the Jurors apply to this case and the way they feel about each other. The 10th Juror resents the intellectualism of the 8th Juror. The people he has convinced of reasonable doubt are “goddam geniuses” and “smart bastards” who have been “bulldozed by bunch’a what d’ya call ‘em – intellectuals.” The inference here is not necessarily that the 10th Juror is stupid (though the 9th Juror does say of the 10th that “It suddenly occurs to me that you must be an ignorant man”) and the 8th Juror smart, but that education can create a class division and that those without an education can become suspicious of those that do because intellectualism can be used to manipulate people. The 10th Juror is not convinced by the testimony of “phoney psycho whatever-you-call-it-stuff” (i.e the psychiatrist’s report) but by the instinctive believe in class. The boy must have done it because of his social

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